Billionaire backs buyer of text message giant

BILLIONAIRE financier Dermot Desmond has emerged as a backer of the €400 million takeover of a British text message business.

Mr Desmond’s International Investment & Underwriting is providing finance for the takeover, which is being led by Atlantic Bridge Ventures, an Irish venture capital company.

It is acquiring the telecoms products business of the London-listed LogicaCMG for €392m.

The business will be renamed Acision, and is one of the world’s leading providers of mobile messaging solutions for 300 mobile phone network operators.

Atlantic Bridge Ventures was formed by Brian Long, the multi-millionaire founder and former chief executive of Irish semiconductor design company, Parthus Technologies.

It was not disclosed yesterday how much of the financing for the deal is being provided by Mr Desmond, who also backs technology companies Daon and Intuition Publishing.

Around half of the purchase price is being funded by a privately-held US holding company, Access Industries.

Acision provides text messaging, mobile phone payment systems and voice mail services to customers in 135 countries and employs 1,700 people. It had revenues of €377m and operating profits of €20m in 2005.

Mr Long, who sits on the board of the Cork-based National Microelectronics Research Centre, said yesterday: “This investment marks a significant step for Atlantic Bridge following our launch in 2005 and represents the foundation of our investment strategy of targeting businesses operating in high-growth sectors within our core areas of industry expertise.”

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