Business Irish

Saturday 21 October 2017

Finnegan 'relieved' after telecoms deal

Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Ireland's biggest telecoms deal in a decade has left Robert Finnegan feeling "relieved".

"Naturally, I feel good about it," he said. "It's a huge opportunity for me to run something special. And when you get the right result in a process like this it makes it worthwhile."

Although Mr Finnegan now expects the acquisition to complete "in the next three to four weeks", there are still things that will need to be ironed out.

For example, what happens to 700 O2 Ireland employees?

"Inevitably when you're merging two companies, there will be duplications and we will have to eliminate some positions," he said.

"But there will also be some opportunities for new jobs, too. For example, we need to recruit people to build out a 4G network and there will be other areas like that where positions will actually be created."

Mr Finnegan said that he will be the new entity's chief executive. He declined to comment on the position of individual O2 Ireland roles or of senior management at the acquired firm.

But why is 3 buying O2 in the first place?

"Combining our networks is the best way to create a strong, profitable operator here in the Irish market," he said. "For example, we can now push on with a 4G network that will cover 97pc of the country's population within 24 months. That couldn't have happened if we had stayed separate."

Some analysts feared that Hutchison Whampoa, which has invested €1.1bn in its loss-making Irish operator over the last 10 years for a return of just 8pc market share, might leave the Irish market altogether if the European Commission had not given the go-ahead for the deal.

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