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March 5, 2015

Former Virgin Media execs to snap up struggling telcos

Eamonn O'Hare and Robert Samuelson partner on new investment vehicle.

By Alexander Sword

Former Virgin Media executives are launching an investment vehicle to take advantage of turbulence in the European telecoms market.

Eamonn O’Hare, the finance director who oversaw Virgin Media’s acquisition by Liberty Global, has stated he will raise capital to buy up struggling telecom operators with the aim of "fixing" them before selling them on.

O’Hare, who worked as finance chief at Tesco before moving to Virgin Media, is joined in this venture by Robert Samuelson, Virgin Media’s former strategy chief.

The duo aim to build a portfolio of larger companies with values between £1 billion and £3 billion, claiming to have already identified around 70 potential targets for acquisition.

The vehicle will be called Zegona and floated on Aim, the London Stock Exchange junior market, hoping to raise £30 million, with JPMorgan and Oakley Capital as joint book runners for the flotation. Acquisitions will also be financed through debt.

The move comes as the European telecoms landscape moves increasingly towards consolidation. In the UK, BT recently announced its purchase of EE, while Three owner Hutchinson Whampoa may be buying up O2.

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