US telecoms investors buy Irish fibre firm E-net

27 Sep 2013

E-net incoming chairman David C McCourt and outgoing chairman Eoin O'Driscoll

E-net, the fibre company responsible for running Ireland’s 94-town network of metropolitan area networks (MANs), has been acquired by a consortium of US telecoms investors for an undisclosed sum.

The consortium comprises Granahan McCourt, Oak Hill Advisors, and the family of Walter Scott Jr. The business has been acquired from previous shareholders, including ACT Venture Capital and E-net founder Michael Tiernan.

“It’s a good time to be investing in Ireland and E-net represents an attractive proposition,” said David McCourt, CEO of Granahan McCourt.

“The business has a unique model and an experienced team which has successfully driven the development and growth of the business to date. This directly benefits the State as it delivers affordable, state-of-the-art broadband services to towns and cities across Ireland.

“We see potential to expand and to maximise the MANs and look forward to working with management to realise that aim.”

Ownership by State won’t be affected

E-net said the acquisition will have no impact on the company’s day-to-day business and the company’s management, led by CEO Conal Henry, will remain in place.

The MANs themselves will remain in State ownership and customers including BT, UPC and Vodafone won’t be affected by the transaction.

“The new investors are keen to build on E-net’s strong position in the market and expect to invest in backhaul, connecting a significant number of MANs towns. Furthermore, the new shareholders have a sophisticated understanding of the MANs and the open-access, carrier-neutral model and are prepared to continue to invest in its development.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years