Valentia - the company led by Tony O Reilly - has now received acceptances from 90.1% of Eircom shareholders for their offer of 1.33 euros per share.

Just under 10% of shareholders, about 150,000 people, holding an estimated 22 million shares are now facing compulsory purchase of their stock, which will entail a 30% loss on the original investment.

Nearly half a million people bought into the company at flotation owning about 22% of Eircom.

Shareholders are now receiving statutory notices in the post saying that under Irish law, Valentia can force the sale of shares from those people who have not accepted their offer.

Valentia is seeking these shareholders to voluntarily accept their offer, otherwise their shares will be acquired compulsorily and registered in Valentia's name.

The money will be paid to Eircom and held in trust by the company on the shareholders behalf. It will only be sent to the individual shareholders when they apply in writing for payment.

This is the final chapter in the greatest experiment in public ownership in Ireland, which has ended painfully for many thousands of ordinary shareholders.

For those who have kept the Vodafone shares which they received for the sale of the mobile arm Eircell, a long wait is likely before the full losses can be retrieved. Vodafone traded at £1.85 sterling today and would have to reach £3 sterling before the one third loss was recovered.