€2 Billion Cash Offer For Eircom Rejected
A cash offer of €2 billion for Eircom was rejected by the company’s examiner and its senior lenders in the past week, the Irish Times has learned. Mobile phone group 3 Ireland and its Hong Kong-based parent company Hutchison Whampoa, made the offer. The 3 group is the number four mobile operator in Ireland and was the unnamed bidder for Eircom referred to in a statement issued on Monday by the heavily-indebted company. Hutchison, which has telecoms operations in six European countries, and elsewhere in the world, would have provided the finance for the deal and was also prepared to back a €1 billion-plus investment in Eircom’s fibre network. On Monday, Eircom said it had been notified by the examiner, Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton, that he had received a conditional, non-binding offer for the company. “Given the level of the offer and its conditionality, the examiner has decided not to proceed with the proposed offer,” the company said. It is understood the issue of conditionality related to the fact that such a deal would have required regulatory clearance, possibly at EU level. Such a process could take months to complete and most probably would not have happened within the 100-day timeframe set down by the High Court for the examinership process. Eircom entered examinership on March 29th and Mr McAteer is due to return to the High Court on May 24th with an update on his progress in executing the proposed scheme of arrangement. Read more.