UK private equity group said to be stalking Eircom

15 Jun 2009

UK private equity group Permira is said to have expressed an interest in bidding for Irish telco Eircom, The Sunday Times newspaper reports without citing its source. The paper claims that JP Morgan is advising Permira, although the fund declined to comment on the rumour.

Eircom is being put up for sale by Aussie-listed fund Eircom Holdings, which owns 57% of the Irish telecoms business and was formerly known as Babcock Brown Capital. Investment bank Goldman Sachs was appointed earlier this month to advise on offers for the telecoms group

At the end of May 2009, Eircom Holdings started discussion with three possible bidders concerning its stake in Eircom. Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT) is believed to have held meetings with the Irish government and the employee share ownership trust (ESOT), which owns 35% of the company, whilst three private equity companies are also understood to be interested. These include financier and former Babcock Brown executive Rob Topfer, who has tabled an offer of EUR100 million (USD140.5 million). Mr Topfer’s bid, made through an investment vehicle called TaemasBridge, was rejected by Eircom, ESOT and trade unions. The other two private equity groups thought to be stalking Eircom are Arcapita and CVC, while Irish entrepreneur Sean Melly was rumoured to be lining up a potential bid, with financing from JP Morgan.

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