Freshfields and Linklaters prepare for Babcock’s Eircom bid

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has cemented its ties with Eircom, acting for the Irish telecoms company, which is the target of a potential EUR2.36bn (£1.63bn) takeover offer from Australian investment group Babcock & Brown.

After stalking Ireland’s largest telephone company for almost six months, Babcock & Brown made a formal approach to Eircom last week.

Eircom has since given Babcock & Brown the go-ahead to examine its books with a view to mounting a bid.

Freshfields corporate partners David Sonter and Stephen Hewes and US corporate partner Don Guiney are leading the team for longstanding client Eircom.

Linklaters M&A partner Nick Rees is acting for Babcock & Brown Capital, a listed investment fund managed by the Australian financial services company.

Babcock & Brown, which has built up a stake of 28.8 per cent in Eircom, is working alongside Eircom’s Employee Share Ownership Trust (ESOT), which controls a further 21.8 per cent, to offer EUR2.20 per share for the remaining shares in the company.

Freshfields’ relationship with Eircom stretches back to 2001, acting for the company on a number of high-profile transactions including its IPO in 2004 as well as its EUR420m acquisition of mobile operator Meteor. Sonter and Hewes also advised Eircom when it received a EUR2bn offer from Swisscom in November last year.

Likewise Linklaters has previously acted for Babcock & Brown on deals including its EUR100m acquisition of Czech Republic-based company Galerie Butovice last year.