The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has confirmed that Anchorage Capital, the biggest single shareholder of Ireland’s former monopoly operator eir, plans to acquire the roughly 9.8% stake in the telco owned by US hedge fund York Capital, as it looks to move toward an apparent goal of >50% control of eir’s parent, Eircom Holdco. The move is subject to regulatory approval, but if completed would mark the Irish firm’s eighth new ‘owner’ in the past 18 years. eir’s other main shareholders are Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, which acquired a 16.3% stake in the telco in the summer for around EUR230 million (USD251 million), and hedge fund Davidson Kempner (11.9%).
In a website statement the CCPC says it has received notification of the pending takeover by Anchorage seeking ‘sole control of Eircom’, prompting speculation that it is making an outright bid for the group. The Commission notes that any third parties who wish to make submissions regarding the competition aspects of the deal can do so. The deadline for these submissions is 10 November 2016. Following York’s likely exit, three shareholders will own a majority of the equity in eir – about 75%. Anchorage Capital currently controls 36.9%.
In response, eir issued a statement of its own noting that Anchorage’s planned stake increase ‘is a positive endorsement of the group and its strategy’.