THOUSANDS of Irish investors in Vodafone are set for a windfall after plans emerged for the company to be sold to a US telecoms giant.
AT&T is believed to lining up a bid for Vodafone's business outside of the United States.
At about $245bn (€192bn), the deal, which also involves another US carrier, would be the biggest ever takeover if it goes through.
Vodafone's are some of the most widely held shares in the country. That dates back to Vodafone's purchase of Eircom's Eircell in 2000.
Vodafone paid €4.5bn for Eircell but paid for it through new shares in Vodafone. That meant that Eircom shareholders received Vodafone shares as payment for Eircell.
Eircom was famously one of the biggest flotations in the history of the State, with thousands of "ordinary" people investing in the company.
Vodafone shares are currently trading at close to their share price in 2000. Any deal, however, is likely to be at a premium of around 40pc of their current price, paving the way for huge profits for shareholders.
None of the companies involved would comment last night, but market sources have indicated that a number of investment banks have been brought in to put together a plan for the deal.
If the takeover does go through, Vodafone customers here are unlikely to see any immediate change to services.