Hutchison's €2B Eircom bid spurned a second time

Hutchison Whampoa's second attempt to buy bankrupt Irish telecoms operator Eircom appears to have failed after the Hong Kong-based company's revised €2 billion cash bid was turned down.

Reports on Friday said Eircom's court-appointed examiner Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton rejected the cash offer for Eircom because it was seen as too low, and because the bidder was insisting on completing due diligence before finishing the deal.

The Irish Independent said a rejection of the offer from Hutchison and 3 means Eircom is to be handed to a group of 200 lenders led by U.S. investment firm Blackstone at the end of this month. It is now feared by some that the failed bid by Hutchison and its Irish unit, 3, ends any hope that Eircom will be owned by a telecoms company rather than by financiers in future.

In a statement on Friday, Eircom confirmed that it has been notified by the examiner that he has completed his assessment of proposals received in the Examinership process.

"As a result, the examiner today will circulate to all creditors of eircom Limited, Meteor Mobile Communications Limited and Irish Telecommunications Investments Limited proposals for a scheme of arrangement ahead of creditors' meetings to be held in Dublin next Friday 18 May 2012," the telco said.

"As I have signed the implementation agreement, no other proposal will be considered," McAteer said in a statement, according to the Irish Times. "This is an important step in the process which will hopefully allow eircom Limited, Meteor Mobile Communications Limited and Irish Telecommunications Investments Limited to successfully exit the examinership process in the coming weeks."

Eircom filed for the Irish equivalent of bankruptcy protection on March 30 with €3.8 billion of net debt, the biggest corporate insolvency in the nation's history.

For more:
- see this Irish Independent article
- see this Irish Times article
- see this Silicon Republic article

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