NJJ Capital, the holding company owned by French billionaire Xavier Niel, has reportedly resumed takeover talks with Irish telecoms operator eir. According to TMT Finance, Lazard is advising Niel, whereas LionTree is understood to be working with eir shareholders, who are led by Anchorage Capital. Reports of a sale first emerged in September this year, only for the talks to fall apart the following month.
eir’s biggest shareholders are understood to be private equity funds Anchorage Capital (42%), Davidson Kempner Capital (14%) and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC ( 16.3%). The remainder of the telco is said to be owned by a mix of finance houses, including former lenders. Last year, Anchorage secured voting control at eir.
TeleGeography notes that French billionaire Niel, has negotiated a number of telecoms acquisitions via his NJJ unit in recent years, most notably Salt (formerly Orange) in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. NJJ is currently tussling for control over Tigo Senegal, as part of a consortium also comprising Sofima and Teyliom Group. In telecoms circles, Niel is best known for his majority ownership of Iliad Group (including Free Mobile) in France, and his strategic shareholding in pan-Asian ISP MyRepublic.