Buf­fett busi­ness part­ner to bankroll broad­band bid­der

Irish Independent - Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - Adrian Weck­ler

WAR­REN Buf­fett’s busi­ness part­ner, Wal­ter Scott, is to help bankroll the con­sor­tium aim­ing to win the Gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional Broad­band

Plan ten­der.

Mem­bers of the Ne­braska-based bil­lion­aire’s fam­ily were in Dublin this week for talks. It has also emerged that Oak Hill, the New York ven­ture cap­i­tal firm that sold its 47pc share in tele­coms firm Enet last year, will also play a part in the con­sor­tium’s fi­nanc­ing.

The Ir­ish-Amer­i­can busi­ness­man David McCourt, CEO of the con­sor­tium bid leader Grana­han McCourt, will also in­vest money in the ven­ture.

Mr McCourt re­cently agreed a deal to sell his com­pany’s re­main­ing stake in Enet to the State-backed Ir­ish In­fra­struc­ture Fund (IIF).

De­tails on fi­nanc­ing were a key de­mand from the Gov­ern­ment ac­cord­ing to re­cently re­leased doc­u­ments from the Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

The bid­ding con­sor­tium has re­cently courted con­tro­versy be­cause of the with­drawal of the multi­bil­lion-pound UK en­ergy gi­ant, SSE, and the Bri­tish spe­cial­ist in­vest­ment firm, John Laing.

The con­sor­tium is now led by Grana­han McCourt with around 40 sub-con­trac­tors, in­clud­ing the KN Group and De­nis O’Brien’s Ac­tavo, for­merly Site­serv. It will still base a large part of its in­fra­struc­ture on Enet’s met­ro­pol­i­tan area net­work rings, which serve 94 re­gional towns.

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