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GCI Group
Oakley advises GCI Group on its acquisition of Blue Chip Data Systems
Transaction Type:
July 2017
Deal Value:

Oakley Advisory Limited (“Oakley”), the independent corporate finance firm offering specialist advice across the TMT sector, has advised GCI Group Limited (“GCI” or the “Company”) on its acquisition of Blue Chip Data Systems Limited (“Blue Chip”). GCI is one of the UK’s leading and fastest growing Managed IT Service Providers. Blue Chip is a Managed IT Services company that delivers end-to-end fully managed IT services to large SMEs, enterprises and public sector organisations. It was founded 25 years ago and has around 170 staff across the UK, with offices in Poole, Bristol and Leeds.

Blue Chip is GCI’s fifth and largest transaction within the last 18 months, following the acquisitions of Outsourcery, Packet Media and Fusion Media in 2016 and the acquisition of owner-managed Freedom Communications in January this year. This transaction will make GCI one of the largest privately owned Managed Service Providers in the UK with 500 staff, turnover approaching £100m and an impressive technical capability underpinned by multiple vendor certifications, including 10 Microsoft Gold accreditations alongside others from leading vendors such as HP, Fortinet and Enghouse Interactive.

Pivotal in this transaction from GCI’s board were CEO Adrian Thirkill and CFO Mark Allen – a veteran of more than 20 acquisitions during his time with GCI. Commenting on the acquisition, Mark Allen stated:

“Each transaction brings its own set of challenges and I’d like to say it gets easier over time. I’m not sure it does. But from each transaction we learn something and Oakley’s support during this deal has given us a really nice result. Not only have we filled important capability gaps, but we have brought together two businesses whose respective cultures mirror each other perfectly. The net result is that we have ticked another box in our never-ending mission to finesse GCI’s services portfolio to support digital transformation, and with Oakley’s help we have also achieved the critical alchemy of finding the perfect match… and that’s an energising benefit in a competitive sector like ours.”

Oakley played a key role in putting together the transaction, understanding GCI’s strategic objectives and Blue Chip’s stakeholder plans in detail. The Oakley team comprised Chris Godsmark, Managing Partner and James Chapman-Andrews, Managing Director.

Chris Godsmark, Managing Partner at OAL commented:

“We are delighted to have helped GCI to add this critical fifth pillar to their business and further advance their explosive growth over the last 18 months. This transaction clearly demonstrates continued convergence between communications and IT capabilities in the UK mid-market, a trend much discussed over the last 5 years but that we see is really accelerating today.”

Oakley Advisory

Oakley is one of Europe’s leading independent corporate finance firms offering expert, specialist advice across a range of sectors including Telecoms, Technology, Online, Media, Datacentres and Hosting. We are unique in the mid-market in offering highly specialised sector insight and knowledge combined with our Equity Capital Markets capability, meaning we can provide the fullest possible suite of advice across both public and private markets.

This transaction marks the sixteenth deal we have announced or completed in the last twelve months, which includes advising Esendex on its sale to HgCapital, Zegona on its sale of Telecable to Euskatel, Ingresso on its sale to accesso Technology Group, Gigaclear on its equity fundraising, Infinity on the sale of its Stockley Park Data Centre to Zenium, Lyceum on its acquisition of Timico, Just Eat on its acquisition of SkipTheDishes and Daisy on its takeover of Alternative Networks.

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