Eircom accepts $3.1b bid from Australian group

The Eircom Group board has accepted a takeover bid from Australia 's Babcock & Brown Capital that values Ireland's dominant telephone company at 2.42 billion euros ($3.1 billion), according to an Associated Press report.

The report said Babcock & Brown offered, as expected, 2.20 euros ($2.83 euros) in cash per share for the former state monopoly.

The executive director of Babcock & Brown, Robert Topfer, said the new management would seek to accelerate the rollout of broadband services and increase market share of Eircom's mobile phone division, Meteor, which had 625,000 customers and an 8% market share, a distant third in a mobile-mad country dominated by Vodafone and O2, the report said.

Topfer said he hoped to increase Meteor's share to above 20%, the report further said.

Officials said Eircom would be saddled with 3.8 billion euros ($4.89 billion) in debt, about double its current level, once the takeover goes through, according to the report.