According to a report in the Irish Independent newspaper, the trustees of the Eircom employees Share Ownership Trust (ESOT) have withheld a payment of EUR49.9 million (USD69.1 million) to members, to ‘preserve its options’ if it decides either to increase its stake in the telco or co-invest with a potential bidder. The paper cites documents published by ESOT which say the move is necessary for the trust ‘at this critical juncture and believes it is in the best interests of beneficiaries to do so.’ Former monopoly Eircom has received interest from a number of suitors since it was put up from sale by majority shareholder Eircom Holdings, the Australian-based fund formerly know as Babcock & Brown Capital. Bidders include UK private equity group Permira, and Bahrain-based Viridian owner Arcapita, while the likes of CVC Capital Partners and Singapore Technologies Telemedia have also held talks with Eircom executives. It is understood the EUR49.9 million in question will be added to the EUR100 million fund already put aside by ESOT. The trust currently owns 35% of Eircom and has been involved in the ongoing takeover talks.
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