According to an unconfirmed report in The Sunday Business Post, US telco AT&T Inc is considering a bid for Irish former monopoly Eircom as a ‘potential low-tax route into Europe’. The paper claims that high level officials from AT&T have been seen at the Irish telco’s Dublin headquarters in recent weeks, and speculates that whilst Eircom is gearing up for a stock market flotation, no pre-initial public offering (IPO) process is currently underway and its deadline for its so-called ‘clarity of options’ is the year end, not the autumn.
Last month, CommsUpdate reported that Eircom was considering delaying its planned stock market listing amid concerns that investors will not be interested in buying shares. The incumbent had tentatively set a September timeline for the date of its third public offering since 1999, but is now contemplating a number of options, such as the sale of a part of its business to international funds and the postponement of its flotation by an undetermined period of months. The Irish incumbent has taken on investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to explore strategic financing options for the company, including a potential IPO that is estimated to value Eircom at around EUR2 billion. Three people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private, suggest that some of the buyout groups already approached include Apax Partners, CVC Capital Partners and KKR & Co LP (KKR), with the aim being to form a consortium for the Dublin-based firm, which has changed ownership six times since 1999. The companies involved however, have all declined to comment.