NJJ Telecom Europe to take majority stake in Eir
A consortium led by NJJ Telecom Europe, owner of the French telecoms company Iliad, is to take a majority stake in Ireland’s Eir telecoms group in a deal worth €3.5 billion ($4.1 billion).
Eir is presently owned by an investor group including Anchorage Capital Group, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, GIC and its management.
Carl Leaver, chairman of Eircom Holdings (Ireland) Limited, said: “Today marks an important milestone for Eir, our customers and indeed for Ireland itself. Iliad and NJJ Telecom Europe bring a wealth of global telecommunications experience which will be of huge benefit to Eir and its customers.
“Coupled with the continued involvement of our existing shareholders, Anchorage Capital and Davidson Kempner, the company is well positioned to continue its operational transformation, underpinned by sustained investment, innovative products and services and improved financial performance.”
NJJ will own 32.9 per cent of Eir under the agreement, while Anchorage Capital Group and Davidson Kempner will retain a combined 35.5-per-cent stake.
Eir Sport, the group’s pay-TV sports broadcast arm (formerly Setanta Sports), recently admitted that it needs to pick up rights to a major sports property if it is going to be able to compete with its rivals in the market.
Speaking at the Sportscast conference in London, Glen Killane, the broadcaster’s managing director, said that it would need a “battering ram” in order to challenge pay-TV’s Sky in Ireland.
At present, Sky and RTE, the Irish public-service broadcaster, hold live rights to the events of Ireland’s Gaelic Athletic Association, in five-year deals worth a combined €55 million ($60 million).
The rebranded Eir Sport, which was relaunched in 2016, has rights to some Saturday evening games but it also holds rights to online clip rights for the club championships, Allianz Leagues and Senior Championship games, as well as archive rights.
However Killane said that top-tier and exclusive GAA rights were not a target for the broadcaster as it seeks something else that can be its “statement” move.