David McCourt: the Irish-American billionaire you never heard of – until now

Telco entrepreneur with a home in Co Clare sold his first phone company for $14bn

 David McCourt:  awarded the 2018 Science Foundation Ireland annual medal for his contribution to technology and innovation

David McCourt: awarded the 2018 Science Foundation Ireland annual medal for his contribution to technology and innovation

 

Irish-American entrepreneur and businessman David McCourt is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Granahan McCourt, a private investment firm specialising in telecoms and media.

He says he has invested more than a €100 million in telecoms in Ireland, mainly through his acquisition and expansion of Irish telecoms firm Enet, which he purchased in 2013 and recently sold to the State-backed Irish Infrastructure Fund.

He made his fortune from the sale of his US phone company, Corporate Communications Network, to WorldCom for $14 billion (€12 billion) in the 1980s. Worldcom later went bankrupt.

He owns a number of other businesses in the UK and around Europe but insists his Irish operation is central to his plans.

Following the exits of Eir and ESB-Vodafone joint venture Siro, McCourt’s firm has moved into pole position to win the contract for the Government’s National Broadband Plan. His bid was originally fronted by Irish telco Enet, but he has since sold his remaining stake in the company and now the bid is being led by his main investment vehicle Granahan McCourt.

The firm recently submitted its final tender for the project and brought in Denis O’Brien’s Actavo, formerly known as Siteserv, as a key partner.

Commenting on the submission of the tender, McCourt said: “We have assembled a world-class team with financial resources, unrivalled construction expertise and proven experience of operational capabilities to deliver this project for the Irish Government and for the citizens in rural Ireland.”

To cement his growing business interests in Ireland, he spends much of his time at his home in Newmarket-on-Fergus in Co Clare.

Earlier this year he was awarded the Science Foundation Ireland annual medal for his contribution to technology and innovation.

In May he published a book entitled, Total Rethink: Why entrepreneurs should act like revolutionaries. Part business memoir, part business blueprint, the book suggests society needs to change our current mode of thinking to deal with some of the global challenges such as climate change.