Endgame for Eircom?

It’s possible that the two front runners bidding for the Irish telecom will be hearing who has won very soon.

Eircom, the former state owned Irish telecoms monopoly, is expected to be convening a board meeting today to assess the bids on the table for its company.

The e Island consortium, led by Denis O’Brien and the Valentia consortium, headed by Irish media magnate Sir Anthony O’Reilly, appear to be the only two groups that have submitted concrete proposals for Eircom.

Last Friday Valentia held talks with the Employee Share Ownership Trust (ESOT) of Eircom. It agreed to offer the trust, which currently owns 14.9 per cent of the company, a 29.9 per cent stake in return for its support. This morning it raised its bid to E1.22 per share.

However, last Friday E-Island raised an earlier bid to an all-in offer of E1.241 per share, which includes a dividend sweetener of 2.1 cents. It also intends to offer the ESOT a 24.9 per cent stake in the future of the company. It claims that its deal is being led by the best management team in the Irish telecoms industry and that it has “a clear plan to re-introduce revenue and business growth to Eircom”.

There has also been talk of interest from other parties such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and US finance company Blackstone Group but no firm bids appear to have been made. With speculation of a board meeting taking place today, an announcement about who the successful bidder is, may be imminent.