Deadline set for EBS takeover bids

EBS Building Society, the country’s biggest customer-owned lender, set an August 9 deadline for a second round of takeover bids, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

Four companies submitted initial offers as EBS seeks to raise about €785 million to meet capital standards set by the country’s financial regulator. The company may choose a buyer by the end of August, said one person, who declined to comment because the process hasn’t yet been completed.

JC Flowers & Co, the US leveraged buyout firm, Doughty Hanson & Co, a British rival, Irish Life & Permanent Plc and Cardinal Asset Management are the four parties involved in the first round of bidding.

While the Government has already injected €350 million into the company, that may be repaid by the successful bidder. Cardinal Asset Management, led by Dublin-based financiers Nick Corcoran and Nigel McDermott, is backed by US buyout firm Carlyle Group, the person said.

Rosanna Konarzewski, a spokeswoman for Carlyle, declined to comment. It is understood Carlyle is supporting an expression of interest from Cardinal.

The regulator said in March that EBS needed additional capital of €875m.

The lender raised €90m through a debt buyback deal, said Gerry O’Sullivan, a spokesman for the company. He declined to comment on the sale process.

Doughty Hanson and Cardinal’s Mr McDermott didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

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