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May 2, 2008  |  Email This Article   |  Print This Article

Imagine Group acquires Irish Broadband for €47m EUR

DUBLIN (WiMAX Day). Imagine Communications Group announced that it will acquire the Irish WiMAX operator Irish Broadband from its existing shareholders, NTR and Kilsaran Concrete, for € 47 million EUR.

According to an Imagine press release, the two shareholders will jointly make a further investment of € 7 million EUR into Imagine Communications Group, following the transaction, and the two companies combined will own 25% of the enlarged Group.

Imagine Communications provides alternative telecommunications services in Ireland, including fixed line and broadband services. “Strategically we have acquired substantial network and spectrum assets on a nationwide basis which enhances our current service offerings and which facilitates the cost-effective deployment of WiMAX technology,” said Sean Bolger, chairman of Imagine, in a prepared statement.

The enlarged company will have a value of € 187 million EUR, with a reported 12% share of the SME market in Ireland with 15,000 business customers, as well as 80,000 broadband customers and 115,000 residential customers.

Imagine was founded in 2003, and in 2006 received funding from DFJ Esprit, the European arm of the American VC fund Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Last year Imagine reported revenue of € 55 million EUR, and with the acquisition of Irish Broadband the company said its revenue for 2008 will grow to more than € 100 million EUR.

Irish Broadband is the second most popular broadband service in Ireland, after the incumbent Eircom, with some 50,000 residential and business customers.

The company owns 27 licenses for 3.5 Ghz spectrum in Ireland which it received at auction in 2003, and uses equipment from Cisco (formerly Navini) and Alvarion. In the last two years Irish Broadband has significantly increased its network capacity with investments of over € 30 million EUR.

The acquisition of Irish Broadband was a key component of the growth strategy for Imagine, and will provide the vehicle for Imagine to capitalise on “emerging WiMAX technology, which will allow Next Generation Voice and Data services to be offered to business and residential customers across Ireland.”