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BT bids $2.46bn for Esat

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BT is acquiring Esat Telecom Group, Ireland's second-largest telecom company for $2.46 billion, in cash, following a bidding war against a hostile bid from the Norwegian Telenor, and outbidding the company by 18 per cent. Esat and Telenor both own 49.5 per cent of Esat Digifone, which is thought to be the main prize for BT. The Esat board is recommending the deal to shareholders. BT is paying $100 for each Esat American depositary receipt, with each ADR being worth two Dublin-traded shares. Most trading is in the US. Telenor had tried unsuccessfully to merge with the Swedish state-owned Telia, but the deal fell apart. BT collaborates with Telenor over customer use of each other's networks, and in their ownership of the Swedish telecom company Telenordia, which is unlikely to be affected. ®

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