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Oakley Advisory (“Oakley”) has acted as sole financial advisor to Focus Group (“Focus”; “the Company”), one of the UK’s leading telecoms and IT services providers to the B2B market, on the sale of a significant minority stake to Bowmark Capital, the private equity investment firm specialising in UK growth companies valued at up to £250m.

Founded in 2004 by Ralph Gilbert and Chris Goodman, Focus provides a wide portfolio of bespoke, integrated communications and technology solutions including hosted voice, cloud applications, mobile, connectivity and IT services. These are delivered as a managed service to more than 15,000 businesses across the UK. Headquartered at Shoreham-by-Sea near Brighton on the South Coast, Focus has revenues of over £80 million and employs approximately 300 staff. Focus has consistently achieved strong organic growth and low churn by providing cost-effective, integrated solutions across a wide range of products, with a strong emphasis on sales and customer service. It has also acquired and integrated eight businesses over the past two years to expand its talent pool, build scale and enhance its product range.

Oakley advised Focus on its first investment by a third party, a landmark event in the Company’s history. Oakley worked with the founders and management team including CFO James Fletcher to identify investors interested in partnering with Focus, as it developed its plan to grow the business moving forward through a combination of organic growth and further acquisitions. This transaction underlines Oakley Advisory’s leading position in the telecoms and IT services market, with Focus our sixth transaction in this sector in the last twelve months. The Oakley team comprised Chris Godsmark, Joint Managing Partner, Marc Horn, Director and Alexandre Beaudet, Associate.

Focus co-CEO Chris Goodman said:

“We’re absolutely thrilled with the outcome.  Engaging in a primary PE deal feels daunting, but Oakley delivered on every level. Our partnership with Bowmark marks a new chapter for Focus and we look forward to delivering for all our stakeholders in the years to come.”

Chris Godsmark said,

“We were honoured to be chosen by the Focus team to represent the Company on its first external investment. Focus has established itself as one of the largest and fastest growing operators in the UK telecoms and IT services market. Its highly developed sales and customer service culture are a key differentiator and attracted very strong interest from potential investors. The Bowmark team, led by Charles Ind and Stephen Delaney, were a pleasure to work with throughout the process and they will be a great investment partner for Focus moving forward.”

Oakley is the number 1 ranked UK TMT advisor by deal volume (source: Mergermarket) and has completed 19 transactions with a total value of £13bn since the start of 2019, with an average multiple of 11.8x achieved on sell side mandates during that period. Focus brings the total number of deals completed by Oakley since its formation in 2007 to more than 140.

Oakley Advisory, one of Europe’s leading independent corporate finance firms offering specialist advice across the TMT and Online sectors, has acted as joint lead advisor to Just Eat plc on its recommended £11bn merger with Takeaway.com NV.

Just Eat is a global leading online marketplace for food delivery, with operations in Europe, Canada, LatAm, and Australia. Takeaway is a leading European focused online food delivery marketplace with operations in ten European countries and Israel. Takeaway was established in 2000 by founder and current CEO Jitse Groen.

Oakley acted as joint lead financial advisor to Just Eat. The team included Christian Maher, Managing Partner, Marc Jones, Director, Max Gilbert, Assistant Director, and Alessandro Gelfi, Analyst. Oakley provided financial and strategic advice to the Board of Just Eat throughout the process, including advice on the terms of the offer and defence work on the competing bid from Prosus. Oakley previously worked on Just Eat’s 2014 IPO on the London Stock Exchange, its 2016 acquisition of SkipTheDishes in Canada and its 2019 acquisition of Flyt in the UK.

Christian Maher, Managing Partner at Oakley, commented:

“We are delighted to act as joint lead advisor on this transaction. Oakley has advised Just Eat from before its IPO in 2014, acting on a number of its successful acquisitions during this time whilst also being retained for ongoing equity capital markets advice. The combination with Takeaway presents a truly exciting development for the business, its combined leadership team and its shareholders, creating the second largest online food delivery company in the world by Gross Meal Value.

“The transaction is the 5th public markets transaction on which Oakley has advised in the past 12 months.”

 

The merger of Just Eat and Takeaway is subject to an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”). The CMA has imposed a hold separate order requiring the Just Eat and Takeaway businesses to continue to be run independently until the CMA’s investigation is completed or the order is lifted or amended.

Oakley Advisory Limited (“Oakley”), the independent corporate finance firm offering specialist advice across the TMT sector, is delighted to advise cloud services business Nasstar plc (“Nasstar”; the “Company”) on its proposed recommended cash acquisition by Divitas Bidco Limited, an indirect subsidiary of funds managed by Mayfair Equity Partners LLP and its affiliates, and the parent of GCI Managed Services Group.

Founded in 1998 and admitted to AIM in December 2005, Nasstar is a provider of hosted managed services and cloud computing services, integrating private and public clouds and supplying a robust, secure and stable hosted IT service to business customers. Nasstar is an accredited Microsoft Gold Partner, was the 2016 Citrix Networking Partner of the Year and is certified to ISO 27001. Oakley has had a long-term advisory relationship with Nasstar, having worked with the Company on its 2014 reverse takeover of e-know.net, the managed cloud services operator run by the current Nasstar CEO, Nigel Redwood.

The acquisition is intended to be effected by means of a scheme of arrangement and is expected to become effective in late January 2020. Oakley is acting as lead financial advisor to Nasstar, and the team comprised Chris Godsmark, Managing Partner, Marc Jones, Director and Sarthak Sawlani, Associate.

Marc Jones, Director at Oakley, commented:

“We are pleased to advise Nasstar on this recommended cash offer, having worked with the Company over the past seven years. The proposed acquisition by GCI of Nasstar is also a further example of Oakley’s strong capability in public market transactions. The announcement marks our fourth public to private transaction in 2019, making us the leading financial adviser on public market transactions in our sector.”

Oakley Advisory Limited (“Oakley”), the independent corporate finance firm offering specialist advice across the TMT sector, has advised ITS Technology Group (“ITS” or the “Company”) on its latest debt and equity fundraise, supported by a new institutional investor, Aviva Investors (“Aviva”), (the “Transaction”).

ITS designs, builds and operates full fibre and hybrid wireless networks to give business and residential communities access to gigabit capable connectivity. It has pioneered a ‘dig once’ model that reuses existing public and private infrastructure and has a number of partnerships with local authorities. This approach reduces the disruption that civils road digs create and accelerates the rollout of full fibre infrastructure. ITS’ networks are ‘open access’, giving wholesale access to internet service providers (ISPs), network and mobile network operators, and IT resellers.
As part of the Transaction, Aviva provided funding to support the Company’s continued roll out of ultrafast full fibre and hybrid networks in the UK and also injected secondary equity to enable non-management shareholders to exit.

Oakley acted as sole financial advisor on the Transaction. The Oakley team comprised Chris Godsmark, Managing Partner, Victoria Boxall, Director and Sarthak Sawlani, Associate.

Victoria Boxall commented:

It was a pleasure to advise ITS on its most recent fundraise. We were able to utilise our experience of fibre roll-out strategies and our knowledge of working with global infrastructure investors to secure the funding required to allow the Company to continue to successfully deliver against its strategy. The successful completion of the Transaction further demonstrates our expertise in this rapidly evolving and high profile space within the UK telecoms market”.

Oakley Advisory Limited (“Oakley”), the independent corporate finance firm offering sector specialist advice across the TMT sector, is delighted to have advised Commsworld, on its investment by Lloyds Development Capital (“LDC”), the UK mid-market private equity investor.

Edinburgh-headquartered Commsworld is a leading telecommunications and ISP provider, offering connectivity, cloud, security, unified comms, and IT infrastructure services to the public and private sectors. Key client relationships include Taylor Wimpey, Skyscanner and Edinburgh Airport.

The business has developed its own carrier-grade network over the last few years with UK and international reach. For the financial year that ended December 2018, Commsworld recorded revenues of £20m, a 41% increase on the previous 12 months. The investment from LDC will help the existing management team to build on the success of the business in recent years and bring its super-fast and resilient connectivity to more organisations across Scotland and the UK.

Oakley acted as sole financial advisor to Commsworld. The Oakley team comprised Chris Godsmark, Managing Partner, Phoebe Orr, Assistant Director, and Harry Williams, Associate.

Chris Godsmark, Oakley Managing Partner, commented:

“The Commsworld transaction underlines our leading corporate finance capability in data networks, unified communications and cloud. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Commsworld and its management team. The business has huge potential for future growth with LDC on board, as the market continues its migration to next generation, cloud-based, solutions in the public and corporate sectors.”

Ricky Nicol, Commsworld Chief Executive Officer:    

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris Godsmark and his team at Oakley Advisory for their unwavering support and professionalism in our recent transaction with LDC. Their dedication, relentless work and attention to detail has been invaluable to myself and our board.”