Metronet (UK) acquires M247 for £47.5m to create national telecommunications platform

Metronet (UK), the UK’s fastest growing network services provider, backed by mid-market private equity firm Livingbridge, today announces its acquisition of M247, a leading internet infrastructure and hosting company, for £47.5m.

Following the acquisition of M247, Metronet (UK) will be able to offer a combined portfolio of connectivity and content services including wireless network services, datacentres and managed hosting solutions across the UK and Europe. The combined business will have three datacentres, over 200 staff and EBITDA in excess of £12m.

Livingbridge invested in Metronet (UK) in June 2014 as part of a £45m secondary buyout of the firm and the acquisition of M247 is the first step in a targeted buy and build strategy that aims to build a disruptive platform in the connectivity space with 'last mile' control, speeding up communications to end users, and a powerful transit network across Europe.

Established in 2003, Metronet (UK) operates the most advanced hybrid ISP network in the UK and, by combining a unique offering of wireless and wired technology, is able to offer connectivity solutions to corporates and SMEs that are typically implemented five times quicker than traditional fibre and copper based services.

Metronet (UK) currently employs 150 people across two sites in Manchester and works with over 2,500 businesses including Intu, Sofology and ao.com, delivering turnover of £21.5m in the financial year to 2016.

M247 was founded in 2000 by school friends Jonathan Buckle and Chris Byrd, initially as a web hosting services business before David Buckle, Jonathan Buckle’s father, decided to co-invest in the business to purchase a web hosting company named Open Hosting. Open Hosting was then incorporated into Jonathan Buckle and Chris Byrd’s existing business before being rebranded as M247 in 2003.

Today the business provides a wide range of solutions including web hosting, network and data security and 24/365 technical support. The firm operates from Manchester, UK and Bucharest, Romania with clients including On the Beach and Warburtons.

Matthew Caffrey, Partner at Livingbridge, said:
"This is a fantastic step forward for Metronet (UK) as it continues to expand its footprint across the UK and eventually into Europe. This acquisition is the start of a journey to build an international, multi-offering internet service provider and hosting business and we are delighted that M247 will be part of that process. Metronet (UK) has an exciting time ahead as it actively looks for similar acquisition opportunities and we look forward to seeing the business build on its success to date."

Lee Perkins, Chief Executive at Metronet (UK), said:
"M247 is an excellent fit for us as it provides the scale and reach to build upon our existing momentum and the expertise and infrastructure to provide richer solutions to our combined customers. In addition to further acquisitions of similarly high quality businesses to M247, we are making significant investments in our systems and people to facilitate a smooth integration for our customers and to support further organic growth."

David Buckle, Managing Director at M247, said:
"We have known the Metronet (UK) team for some time and feel they are a perfect fit for our business. They are the ideal home for M247 and we are extremely excited about what the future holds for our combined businesses."

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