Irish call centre firm sold for €90m


27 Feb 2006

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Irish call centre services player Conduit has been acquired by venture capital firm Investcorp for €90m, it emerged this morning.

It is understood that Conduit, which has been positioning itself as one of the leading directory assistance players in Europe, signed a definitive agreement with Investcorp Technology Ventures, an entity controlled by Investcorp, to sell the company for €90m.

The transaction is expected to close within 60 days. Conduit was advised by IBI Corporate Finance and O’Donnell Sweeney.

The largest independent directory assistance player in the US InfoNXX has also agreed to participate in the acquisition as a minority shareholder.

Conduit, which is headquartered in Dublin, operates call centres in Ireland, Austria, Switzerland and the UK.

Conduit was established 10 years ago in Dublin. As well as providing its own branded directory assistance services, it provides call centre facilities for a number of large corporates.

In Ireland it operates the independent ‘11850’ directory assistance number. In the UK it operates the ‘118888’ number and also provides directory assistance for telecom operators like Orange. It also operates the ‘118811’ number in Austria and the ‘1850’ number in Switzerland.

The company employs 1,400 people, out of which more than 500 are in Ireland, and generates revenues of approximately €60m a year.

Conduit’s founder and CEO Liam Young commented: “The Investcorp team is committed to working with us to develop and grow Conduit’s business, and has been quick to recognize and understand the exciting opportunities now opening up to us.”

With more than $500m of assets under management, Investcorp Technology Ventures specialises in venture buyouts, take-privates, corporate spinouts and other types of later-stage investments in technology-driven companies in North America and Europe. Its parent company Investcorp now manages total investments in alternative assets of around $9.5bn.

Savio Tung, the global head of Investcorp Technology Ventures, said: “Conduit underpins the type of venture buyouts that we seek to undertake.”

By John Kennedy