Business Irish

Thursday 25 April 2019

Brookfield lines up deal for Imagine

Stock photo
Stock photo
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

CANADIAN infrastructure fund Brookfield Asset Management is behind a proposed acquisition of Imagine Communications Group, according to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

A deal to buy sole control of Imagine Communications Group by BCP IV Telecommunications - a Brookfield vehicle - was notified to the CCPC yesterday.

The Sunday Independent had flagged the deal in February, reporting that Imagine was closing on a large financing deal to help build out its wireless broadband network.

That report said the fund was prepared to inject in the region of $160m-$180m (€129-€145m) into Imagine in a combined debt/equity package. The CCPC notification indicated that Brookfield's vehicle will end up as the sole shareholder.

Imagine - run by executive chairman Sean Bolger - has been working on a so-called Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband network.

The LTE network connects areas to the internet via wireless technology - often placed on phone masts - rather than fixed-line copper cables and is seen as useful for remote areas.

The model is a potential rival to the rollout of the much-delayed national broadband strategy. Any further delays in the State scheme - which a consortium led by Enet is lined up to deliver - would benefit Imagine's wireless alternative.

Imagine has also successfully bid for access to the upcoming 5G spectrum, a faster type of wireless internet, expected to be launched in 2021 at the earliest.

Brookfield has been in Ireland since it bought Bord Gáis Energy's wind business in 2014.

Irish Independent

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