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Eircom confirms takeover talks - again

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Eircom is once again at the centre of a takeover bid after confirming it has received a preliminary approach from Australian investors Babcock & Brown.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the Irish telco said: "The board of Eircom confirms that the company has received a preliminary approach from Babcock & Brown Capital, which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company. A further announcement may be made in due course as and when the need arises."

Last October, Babcock splashed out €400m for a 12.5 per cent stake in the Irish incumbent claiming the firm was undervalued.

At the time Babcock exec Rex Comb said the investment outfit was "optimistic about the fundamentals of the Irish economy and the benefits that flow to Eircom's business as a result of this underlying strength".

He went on: "We see this as a strategic shareholding in a company with robust fundamentals and a positive outlook which is not fully recognised by the market at the present time."

But any speculation that Babcock might make a formal approach was squished when Swisscom confirmed four weeks later that it was in talks to buy the Irish carrier.

But that deal was torpedoed when the Swiss Government (which owns 66 per cent of Swisscom) said it would vote against any plans for the telco to invest overseas. ®

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