• New York
  • Berlin
  • London
Southern Communications
Transaction Type:
December 2021
Deal Value:

Oakley Advisory Limited (“Oakley”), the independent corporate finance firm offering specialist advice across the TMT sector, has advised the shareholders of Southern Communications (“Southern”), including Livingbridge, on its management buyout backed by Ares Management, the leading global provider of debt and equity finance.

Founded in 1965, Southern has grown over the past decade both organically and through acquisitions to become one of the UK’s largest independent providers of data and voice communications solutions primarily for small business customers. Led by CEO Paul Bradford and supported by a highly experienced management team, Southern has executed 16 deals since 2016 while also expanding its product set, developing an impressive technology platform and delivering market leading customer satisfaction and churn. With more than 24,000 customers and 430 staff across the UK today, Southern has cemented its position and reputation as a leader in the UK SME ICT market.

The transaction represents a full exit for minority shareholder Livingbridge, who invested in the company in 2016 having recognised the opportunity to accelerate Southern’s buy-and-build strategy. Following the success of this partnership, the transaction also ideally positions Southern to continue to execute on its growth strategy, capitalising on both organic and inorganic opportunities in the market.The transaction is another strong demonstration of Oakley’s capability and coverage in the sector.

The Oakley team comprised Chris Godsmark, Daniel Havercroft, Phoebe Orr and Ben Schauerman.

Chris Godsmark, joint Managing Partner of Oakley, commented:

“We are delighted to have worked with the Southern team. Their insight into the UK ICT market and M&A track record is unrivalled, it has been a privilege to have advised them on this transaction having previously introduced Livingbridge as a minority shareholder in 2016. The Ares deal was a win-win for both shareholders and management, providing a strong, flexible platform and war-chest for continued growth and industry consolidation.”

Paul Bradford, CEO of Southern Communications, commented:

“Oakley advised us on the first, landmark, management buyout with Livingbridge in 2016 and we have maintained a close relationship with Chris and the team ever since. They worked closely with us throughout the process, sharing our commitment, enthusiasm and ambition. Their support and advice throughout was key to building and then navigating a range of attractive options, ultimately delivering a great outcome for both shareholders and Southern moving forward. We look forward to working with Oakley in the future as there is no shortage of ambition to grow Southern.”

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