French billionaire to complete Eir takeover ‘within weeks’

Companies controlled by telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel set to complete takeover in €3.5bn deal

 Eir said on Thursday that companies controlled by French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel are set to complete the takeover of the former Irish phone monopoly “within weeks”

Eir said on Thursday that companies controlled by French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel are set to complete the takeover of the former Irish phone monopoly “within weeks”

 

Eir said on Thursday that companies controlled by French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel are set to complete the takeover of the former Irish phone monopoly “within weeks” after receiving necessary regulatory approvals.

Mr Neil’s investment vehicle NJJ and Paris-listed telecoms company Iliad, in which the entrepreneur owns a 52 per cent stake, agreed in December to acquire 64.5 per cent of Eir in a deal worth €3.5 billion.

“The necessary consents and clearances have now been secured and the transaction is expected to complete in the coming weeks,” Eir’s finance arm said in a statement to its bondholders on Thursday.

The transaction was subject to approval from European competition authorities, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Minster for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughton.

The Irish Times first reported in September that Mr Niel, who founded France’s first internet services provider in 1993 before selling it on the eve of the dotcom bubble in 2000, was circling Eir.

Current shareholders

Current Eir shareholders US hedge funds Anchorage Capital and Davidson Kempner Capital are also remaining on board, although Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, which built up a 20.6 per cent stake last year, is exiting.

Mr Neil’s companies, Anchorage and Davidson Kempner are carrying out the takeover through a vehicle called Toohil Telecom Holdings Limited.

Last month, Eir unveiled Carolan Lennon, previously head of the company’s networks and wholesale division, as its new group chief executive, replacing Richard Moat, who signalled at the time of the takeover announcement that he was leaving the company.

Eir’s chief financial officer Huib Costermans also plans to leave the company in June. The men are among 45 senior staff at Eir who are set to share €100 million in exchange for their shares in the company under the purchase.

An Post chief executive David McRedmond, a former commercial director at Eir, when it was known as Eircom, is set to become the company’s chairman when the deal goes through.