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Oakley Advisory Limited (“Oakley”), the independent corporate finance firm offering specialist advice across the TMT sector, has advised Imagine Communications Group Limited (“Imagine”), an industry leader in the use of advanced fixed wireless infrastructure to deliver high-speed broadband services and an established operator in Ireland (https://www.imagine.ie/) on its €120m investment from Brookfield, a leading global investor and operator of real assets with approximately $285 billion of assets under management (https://www.brookfield.com/).

With the early release of the 3.6Ghz 5G spectrum and this investment, the underserved regional and rural areas of Ireland will be the first market in Europe to benefit from Imagine’s rollout of its advanced 5G capable fixed wireless infrastructure. Designed and deployed for fixed services only, Imagine uses its 5G wireless spectrum and infrastructure to provide a secure, high-speed wireless connection between premises and base stations connected to the national fibre network. Imagine’s fixed wireless rollout provides a last mile solution to the challenges in providing high-speed broadband services to users, particularly in less densely populated areas where it has been commercially challenging to do so via fibre to the home (“FTTH”).

As more and more people connect to a media-rich web with more devices and average household usage expected to exceed 150GB per month by 2020, homes and businesses need reliable, superfast, high-capacity internet connectivity. While this is driving network investment in fibre backhaul infrastructure to exchanges, cabinets and masts, the challenge remains the last mile connection to the end user. The very high cost of FTTH, significant time to deploy and dependency on access to existing incumbent infrastructure, has and continues to be a barrier and prohibitive factor in delivering services to end users, particularly in less populated regional and rural areas.

The evolution to LTE Advanced and 5G and the significant increase in capacity has unlocked the potential of a new 5G Fixed Wireless model as a future proofed alternative ‘last mile’ solution to connect premises to fibre. While 4G has enabled high-speed mobile broadband, the requirement to simultaneously connect thousands of mobile devices significantly reduces the effective coverage and capacity available to individual users making it unsuitable as an alternative to fixed broadband.

However, deployed exclusively to provide fixed services (no mobile services), using only intelligent external antennae professionally installed at the customer premises, the capacity of the base station is optimised to provide a secure and dedicated high-speed connection to fibre at the bases station to a predefined maximum number of users over a comparatively wide area.

Oakley acted as financial advisor to Imagine, providing advice throughout the transaction including buyer identification, marketing, offer review, and deal construct. The Oakley team comprised Chris Godsmark, Managing Partner and Marc Horn, Director.

Oakley Advisory Limited (“Oakley”), the independent corporate finance firm offering specialist advice across the TMT sector, is delighted to have advised Content and Code (www.contentandcode.com) on its sale to IT Lab (www.itlab.com).

Content and Code was founded by Tim Wallis in 2001 and has grown rapidly to become one of the most awarded and accredited Microsoft partners in the UK. The Company is the UK’s largest SharePoint consultancy and Microsoft’s leading Office 365 partner. In 2018, Content and Code was named Microsoft Partner of the Year for Customer Experience.

IT Lab, which was backed by ECI following an MBO in June 2016, is an award-winning IT support and managed services provider (MSP) and is currently ranked within the top five European and top 50 global MSPs. Leveraging its 24/7 IT managed services, hybrid cloud solutions, cyber security, ERP implementation, technology transformation and change portfolio, IT Lab is focused on helping clients operate anywhere, from any device, at any time.

The combined business creates a Microsoft partner which is now capable of delivering a full portfolio of professional and managed services across the core Microsoft technology stack of Office365 and M365; Azure, Dynamics 365 and SharePoint. The enlarged group is approaching £60m of revenue and has a growing team of more than 550 professionals operating from London, Manchester, and Cape Town serving over 700 mid-market to enterprise clients.

Oakley acted as sole financial advisor to Content and Code. The Oakley team comprised James Chapman-Andrews, Managing Director, Marc Horn, Director and Alexandre Beaudet, Analyst.

James Chapman-Andrews commented:

“It is rare that you work on a transaction where the buyer and seller jointly start targeting customers before an outline deal has even been agreed, which shows how good the fit is between Content and Code and IT Lab. Tim, Simon Lawless (MD) and the Content and Code team have done an exceptional job to prominently position themselves both with Microsoft and within the UK enterprise market. The combination with IT Lab is truly exciting and the market opportunity is vast – we wish the combined group every success in future.”

Commenting on the transaction, Tim Wallis, Content and Code CEO and founder, said:

“Finding an organisation which could not only help us compete with the bigger providers in the market, but which also shared the same vision, ethos and culture as Content and Code was a challenge until we began talks with IT Lab. It is clear that this new partnership shares all the ambitions and values that we wanted. I would like to thank Oakley for their help in this deal from origination through to completion. Oakley has excellent industry and technical knowledge combined with substantial transactional experience which was essential to getting the deal over the line.”

Oakley Advisory Limited (“Oakley”), the independent corporate finance firm offering specialist advice across the TMT sector, has advised Solar Communications Group Limited (“Solar” or the “Company”) on its sale to Wavenet Limited (“Wavenet”).

Solar is a leading provider of unified communications services to SMEs and corporates across Europe. The Company was founded 30 years ago and has become one of the top 10 Mitel resellers in the UK, as well as being a Microsoft Silver Partner and a Summit Partner of Silver Peak. In more recent years, Solar has used M&A to fuel its growth, with two acquisitions in each of 2016 and 2017.

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Birmingham, Wavenet is one of the UK’s market leaders in unified communications and business telephony solutions. Wavenet was acquired by Beech Tree PE in the summer of 2016 and has since made five bolt-on acquisitions including Solar. The deal to aquire Solar was signed on 30 August 2018 alongside a refinancing of the business which will enable Wavenet to enter the next phase of its buy and build strategy.

Oakley acted as sole financial advisor to the Company. The Oakley team comprised James Chapman-Andrews, Managing Director, Marc Horn, Director and Alexandre Beaudet, Analyst

James Chapman-Andrews, Managing Director at OAL, commented:

“We are delighted to have delivered a good deal for Mark, John and the Solar team. It was a great pleasure working with them as they looked at their options for the business before choosing Wavenet as the right home for Solar. We wish Wavenet very well as they embark on the next exciting phase of growth.”

Commenting on the sale process, Mark Colquhoun, Chairman and Founder of Solar, said:

“I would like to thank James, Marc and Alex for their great work and professionalism on this deal, I felt a high degree of commitment from them all and I was very pleased to have chosen them as our advisor. I believe the future for Solar and Wavenet combined is very exciting and look forward to taking up my position on the Board.”

CNS

Oakley Advisory Limited (“Oakley”), the independent corporate finance firm offering specialist advice across the global TMT sector, has advised CNS Group (the “Company”) on its sale to Six Degrees Group (“Six Degrees”).

Established in 1999 and based in London, CNS Group provides advanced cyber security consultancy and managed security services through its own Cyber Security Operations Centre. CNS Group’s clients span both the public and private sectors, and include businesses operating in highly regulated markets, FTSE 100 companies, and large public sector organisations.

CNS Group’s experience, depth of capability, and reputation will allow Six Degrees to continue to act as a trusted advisor to its clients, enhancing its existing security offerings to benefit clients who already use its cloud, managed services, connectivity, and unified communications portfolios.

Oakley acted as sole financial advisor to CNS Group. The Oakley team comprised James Chapman-Andrews, Managing Director, Anthony Yaneza, Director and Marijn van Baar, Associate.

Shannon Simpson, CEO of CNS Group, commented:

“The Oakley team have done a fantastic job from start to finish. Combining deep sector expertise and outstanding support throughout the transaction – James, Anthony and Marijn genuinely became part of the CNS Group team and focused on achieving the best outcome for us. I would recommend Oakley to anyone who wants the highest quality corporate finance advice.”

James Chapman-Andrews, Managing Director at OAL, said:

“We are delighted to have worked with Shannon and the CNS Group team on this transaction. The team have built a leading provider of cyber security services that is a perfect fit for Six Degrees to significantly enhance their cyber security offering to their clients. The transaction highlights Oakley’s strong position in the IT Managed Services and Cyber Security sector and track record of selling businesses to strategic buyers.”

 

Oakley Advisory Limited (“Oakley”), the independant corporate finance firm offering specialist advice across the TMT sector, has advised iPortalis Limited (“iPortalis” or the “Company”) on a minority investment by NorthEdge Capital’s SME Fund.

iPortalis helps international enterprise customers aggregate their diverse software ecosystems so that all technology purchasing, deployment and licence & asset management functions can be handled by IT teams via a single pane of glass. The iPortalis Control Portal (iCP) enables IT teams to purchase, deploy and manage over 30 popular applications from Microsoft, Cisco, Citrix, Symantec, VMware, Acronis and other leading suppliers – and was recently named Most Innovative Enterprise Product at the UK Cloud Awards 2018.

iPortalis employs a team of cloud technology experts across its offices in the UK, Europe and USA, is vendor-agnostic and has a strong portfolio of global clients from multinational enterprises to many of the world’s largest hosted service providers and telcos.

NorthEdge Capital manages over £650m of private equity funds aimed at the North of England and Midlands regions targeting buy-out and development capital transactions. The private equity firm closed its maiden Fund at £225m in March 2013, Fund II at £315m in March 2016 and SME Fund I at £120m in July 2018.

NorthEdge’s investment supports the existing iPortalis management team led by founders Neil May, CEO, and Eric Hanig, CTO, and sees NorthEdge take a significant minority stake in the company. The transaction was signed on 3 August 2018 and will enable iPortalis to drive further expansion of its client base, continue to strengthen its market leading technology and triple headcount to 60 staff across the globe. John Hawkins, an experienced Chairman who has consistently driven growth in the technology sector, will join the business as Non-Executive Chairman.

This transaction continues Oakley’s success in advising software specialists in the ICT services space following the sale of DXI to 8×8 (contact centre software) and the MBO of Redstor backed by Beech Tree Private Equity (data management software). The Oakley team was led by James Chapman-Andrews, Managing Director, with support from Marc Jones, Director, and Harry Williams, Analyst.

James Chapman-Andrews, Managing Director at OAL, commented:

“As large legacy IT service providers to enterprises struggle with the efficient, flexible and transparent delivery of cloud services, both the market opportunity for delivery portals like iCP, and therefore the resulting growth potential, are vast. We are delighted to have helped Neil, Eric and the iPortalis team to raise the capital they need to deliver the next significant phase of growth in their exciting journey.”