Four kicking the tyres at Bitbuzz wi-fi
Bitbuzz, the fast growing wi-fi company headed by Shane Deasy, is understood to have been approached by four separate investors about a potential sale. It is understood that two UK, one Irish and one US group have all contacted the firm recently.
Bitbuzz, which is advised by Grant Thornton and Mason Hayes & Curran, is thought to prefer remaining privately owned at present. The company did not comment. Valuations of the company are likely to be well below €10m.
The company is on a major expansion drive. A key part of its business is in supplying wi-fi to the hotel sector in Ireland and the UK. Wi-fi has become a "must-have" service for hotels, with higher speeds and access now sought by clients. The Dublin-headquartered firm has signed up 75 hotels and is targeting a further 100.
While the hotel wi-fi business is generating about €2m per year, a new strategy which may provide wi-fi to mobile operators may be highly attractive for potential acquirors.
Bitbuzz is developing technology that may enable mobile phone customers to switch seamlessly between 3G or 4G services and its wi-fi broadband product.
This will see far, far cheaper data charges for customers, while the mobile operators will also be able to save money by investing less in infrastructure and carrying less data on their networks.
Telecoms observers believe that wi-fi will play a key role in the consumer product offerings of the big operators in coming years.