3 Mobile makes fresh €2bn bid for Eircom
TELCO 3 Mobile has submitted a fresh €2bn offer to buy Eircom after an earlier approach for the same amount was turned down just over a week ago, according to sources close to the offer.
The company's second offer for Eircom has been made to accountant Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton, who has been overseeing Eircom as an examiner since the business collapsed into insolvency at the end of March.
It comes as Mr McAteer pursues an ambitious timetable that aims to have Eircom emerge from examinership with a viable debt burden as early as May 24.
That deadline was set with a view to implementing a plan agreed by Eircom managers and the company's biggest lenders to hand ownership to the lenders with debts reduced from €4bn to a little over €2bn.
That deadline could be upset if the latest offer from 3 Mobile gets traction with the examiner and moves into a formal due diligence process.
Even so, the 100 days allowed for examinership means a delay would not affect the process itself.
The second offer to come from 3 Mobile is understood to be for €2bn in cash, the same price offered in the earlier rejected bid.
Unlike the earlier approach the new bid comes without conditions, aside from an insistence on corporate due diligence
Last night the examiner could not be reached for comment on the process, and there were signs of frustration from sources close to the bid.
They fear the new approach could also lead to rejection even before negotiations with the company and the examiner get under way.
Last night a spokesman for Eircom said managers there are free to undertake due diligence with any bidder regardless of their "lock-up agreement" recommending handing the company to lenders.
"There is nothing in the agreement to preclude the company from working on any alternative bid.
"If the examiner decides to move ahead with an approach of course the company will participate in that process," a spokesman said.
Mr McAteer, in his role as examiner, is obliged to consider all offers for the telecommunications company before signing any agreement with investors and invited takeover offers.