Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Battle Lines Are Set for Eircom Control

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Battle Lines Are Set for Eircom Control

Article excerpt

Byline: NICK GOODWAY

TWO of Ireland's leading businessmen will do battle for control of Eircom, the privatised State tele-coms group, it was confirmed today.

Dermot Desmond, the Swiss-based Irish tax exile who owns London City Airport and Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, is part of a consortium that has recently made an approach.

Denis O'Brien, his former partner who sold rival telecoms group Esat to British Telecom for [pound]1.9 billion last year, heads a consortium that has already made an indicative bid worth e 2.4 billion ([pound]1.5 billion).

Eircom is one of Europe's first former State telecoms companies to return to its roots as primarily a fixed-line operator.

Fifteen per cent of the Eircom equity is owned by employees and 20% by retail investors. Next month shareholders are expected to approve the e 2.2 billion sale of its mobile business, Eircell, to Voda-fone. Today Eircom management outlined how it will rein in to leave a debt-free, profitable business. …

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