Xavier Niel completes bid for majority stake in Eir

9 Apr 2018

Xavier Niel is now majority stakeholder at Eir. Image: Custodian

A consortium led by French billionaire Xavier Niel finalises its purchase of a majority stake in Eir.

Last December, French investor Xavier Niel was confirmed as the new majority owner of Irish telecoms operator Eir following a period of negotiation.

Niel’s private investment firm, NJJ Telecom Europe, led the deal. Niel has an estimated net worth of €8.3bn and is also co-owner of French newspaper Le Monde.

In 2017, Niel discussed his hopes for the arrangement: “We want to invest for the future of Ireland, and hope to work closely with the Irish Government and ComReg to ensure that people across the country have access to world-class, superfast fixed and mobile broadband.”

Today (9 April) brings the acquisition to completion. A new board of directors has also been announced and will be working with a new senior management team, with Carolan Lennon as CEO.

Eir’s new management team ready to get to work

Lennon praised the new team, describing its wealth of experience as a major asset to the company. “I am looking forward to managing Eir into the next phase of its development. I will work with a new senior management team, all of whom have been appointed from within Eir and who have substantial industry knowledge and market experience.

“The new management team reflects the importance of talent development and embraces gender diversity, themes that are extremely important to me. I am confident that we can, together with the board, build the best fixed and mobile network in Ireland, offer the highest-quality products, and deliver a first-rate customer care service for the Irish people.”

Board shake-up

Stephen Tighe has been appointed CFO at Eir. A senior finance executive with more than 15 years of business experience, he had been the interim CCO since July 2017 and held the position of finance director of Eir’s customer division since October 2013.

The new board of directors is composed of: David McRedmond (chair), Paddy Browne, Rose Hynes, former CEO Richard Moat, Pádraig Ó Ríordáin, Fiona Tierney, Michael Golan, Olivier Rosenfeld and Niel.

NJJ now owns 32.9pc of Eir, while Iliad owns 31.6pc and Niel himself has a 52pc stake in Iliad.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects