Eircom owner mulls ‘several’ options

EIRCOM’S parent company Babcock & Brown Capital (BCM), has told shareholders that it is considering several proposals from international financial and strategic groups and has invited a number of these groups to conduct further due diligence on Eircom and BCM.

The Australian group — which is currently trying to sell its Golden Pages asset in Israel, which would leave it owning only Eircom — is being advised in the matter by UBS Investment Bank.

While last week’s e95m offer tabled by the TaemasBridge consortium led by former Babcock & Brown executive Rob Topfer and ex-Eircom chief executive, Rex Comb is the only party which has been made public — a Singapore-based investment group and Irish telecoms entrepreneur Sean Melly have both been linked with potential bids for Eircom in recent days.

In its letter to shareholders, dated yesterday, BCM management reiterated its opposition to the TaemasBridge offer in its current form. The company has requested Mr Topfer to make certain clarifications regarding the offer.

It is also believed that Mr Comb will return to Dublin this week to try to persuade the Department of Communications, the CWU (Communications Workers’ Union) and the Eircom ESOT that his bid is best for the company.

Meanwhile, Chambers Ireland is the latest body to express its opposition to that bid — saying yesterday it was not in the best interests of broadband investment.

“What Ireland needs is continual and significant investment in broadband roll-out across the country. A vibrant Eircom competing with other fixed line, wireless and cable broadband operators can deliver this goal. However we fear that this offer, if successful, will impede the delivery of this vision for Ireland,” said Claire Cunningham, chairperson of Chambers Ireland’s Digital Policy Council.


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