The tycoon waging war on BT’s dominance of UK broadband is set for a £10million payday after his firm was taken over by Goldman Sachs for nearly £540million.
Greg Mesch, the boss of Cityfibre, will pocket the cash in exchange for his 12m shares in the company.
Other top investors who will make millions include Invesco and funds run by Neil Woodford and Crispin Odey.
Greg Mesch, the boss of Cityfibre, will pocket £10m in exchange for his 12m shares in the Cityfibre after it was taken over by Goldman Sachs for nearly £540m
Goldman’s consortium of West Street Infrastructure Partners and Antin Infrastructure Partners yesterday said they planned to buy Cityfibre for 81p per share – a 93 per cent premium on its Monday closing price.
Mesch said the deal would supercharge his company’s building efforts and heap further pressure on its arch-rival, BT.
Cityfibre, which makes its money from providing cable infrastructure, is in a race with the telecoms giant to lay cutting-edge internet cables across the country.
Mesch, 58, said: ‘Britain relies on Victorian-era cables for its broadband network and that has to change.
‘We’ve been building our business here now for seven years and our mantra is still the same – the UK needs to break its dependence on BT.
Goldman Sachs is one of the largest infrastructure investors in the world, so we will now have as much capital to bring to bear on this problem as BT does.’
Mesch has led the charge in Cityfibre’s battle against BT, with both companies pledged to give millions of homes and businesses fibre-optic internet connections – the best kind available – by the mid-2020s.
At the moment most households still rely on copper wires for their phone and internet services, with Openreach, BT’s cables arm, managing them and charging providers such as Sky, Talk Talk and Vodafone for using the network.
Cityfibre has sought to snatch market share from Openreach by building fibre-optic networks in areas where the service is not available, with Mesch positioning his company as the ‘alternative provider’ to its much bigger competitor.
The straight-talking American, who lives with his wife Niamh and their three children in North London, will remain in his post for at least five more years under the proposed takeover.
He has spent the past 25 years building broadband networks in Europe and founded Cityfibre in 2011 with business partner Mark Collins.
The company has grown rapidly and now controls fibre networks in more than 40 UK cities and towns.
Its efforts won a major vote of confidence last year when it was hired by Vodafone to provide fibre connections to 1m homes and businesses by 2020.
News of Cityfibre’s proposed takeover sent shares soaring by 88 per cent, or 36.8p, to 78.8p.
However, Guy Peddy, an analyst as Macquarie, claimed the deal significantly undervalued the business.