The takeover was finally rubberstamped on Tuesday although the formal transaction will not take place for a number of weeks.
Staff will retain a significant share of the company however, with an employee share ownership trust (Esot) increasing its current holding of 21.5 percent to 35 percent under the new deal.
The former state-owned company was floated by the Irish government on the stock market controversially in 1999, after a huge advertising campaign. With a buoyant telecoms sector in the midst of the dotcom boom, many individual investors bought shares believing they were a certain bet to rise. But the share price plummeted only weeks after the company was floated, leaving many of the 500,000 small investors badly burned. The debacle is believed to have contributed to Minister Mary O’Rourke losing her seat in the Dail.
The company was then bought by former Heinz chairman and newspaper mogul Tony O’Reilly’s Valentia Consortium for around