Onecom acquires Olive Communications

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LDC-backed Onecom acquires Olive Communications

Onecom has acquired its closest rival, Olive Communications, in a move which creates the largest business-to-business mobile, fixed-line and cloud specialist in the UK.

Together, Onecom and Olive will provide services to more than 500,000 corporate and business end users this year, generating combined annual turnover of more than £140m. 

The acquisition was supported with follow-on funding from mid-market private equity firm LDC, which invested in Onecom in a £100m deal in July 2019 to fuel the Hampshire-based business’s ambitious three-year growth strategy. Growth capital investor BGF, which invested £10million into Olive in 2016, has exited the business as part of the deal.

Olive’s Chief Executive, Martin Flick, has been appointed CEO of Onecom Group. Darren Ridge, who founded Onecom in 2002 and has grown the business to achieve annual revenues of more than £90m, remains a significant shareholder and will remain active in his Non-Executive Director role. The newly-expanded Onecom Group will continue to be headquartered at Whiteley, Hampshire.

Buckinghamshire-based Olive Communications has grown through organic and acquisitive means to more than £31m in annual revenue, pivoting its proposition in 2014 from being “mobile only” to become the UK’s leading cloud communications provider.

The acquisition brings together two of Vodafone’s most successful strategic partners. Onecom has been recognised as Vodafone Strategic Partner of the Year for an unrivalled 10 years, while in 2020, Olive was awarded Vodafone’s Innovation Partner of the Year Award.

Darren Ridge, Non-Executive Director of Onecom Group said:

“I’m really proud of all that we have achieved so far at Onecom in leading the market to deliver exceptional service to our customers and forming strong relationships with key partners. 

“We have seen Olive as healthy competitors for years, and their market reputation for delivering cloud services is unrivalled. The inevitable changes to working patterns across the UK and globally as a result of the pandemic have accelerated the need for integrated cloud communications and significantly increased demand for transformation and digitalisation.

“Bringing these two businesses together will significantly benefit our customers, partners and stakeholders and employees. I look forward to supporting Martin and the leadership team on this next chapter of our journey together.”

Martin Flick, CEO of Onecom Group, added: 

“I’m delighted that Darren and the Onecom board have given me the opportunity to bring these two fantastic businesses together, boasting a combined talent pool that is the envy of the industry. This, coupled with ongoing support from LDC, will supercharge our ambitions.

“Our combined scale, expertise, experience and proximity to customer need affords us the perfect proposition to help customers of all sizes to navigate their journey through the short and long term economic landscape, leveraging technology from our established and emerging strategic partnerships, including Vodafone, Mitel, Google, Microsoft and others.

“Our ultimate objective this year is to help our customers continue to navigate the pandemic, and to be market-ready to transform, adapt and evolve their businesses with innovative cloud communications technologies that will empower UK PLC.”



Yann Souillard, Head of London at LDC, said:

“This marks the third acquisition Onecom has made since we invested in the business back in July 2019, and the combination of Olive and Onecom is a force to be reckoned with in the UK B2B telecoms market. At LDC we understand how a buy and build growth strategy can create scale and resilience; we enabled 35 bolt-on acquisitions across our portfolio in 2020 alone.”

Matthew Simcox, investor at BGF, said:

“We backed Olive in 2016 and over the last five years, the business has continued to build on its mobile heritage and become a market leader in cloud communications. The merger with Onecom is a natural progression and we wish Martin Flick and his team all the best on their future journey.”

Onecom was advised by Goodwin Procter LLP, while George Green Solicitors acted for Olive.

ENDS 

Note to Editors

About Onecom

Onecom is the UK’s largest independent business telecommunications provider, operating from seven regional offices across the UK. The company currently manages nearly 100,000 business customers, delivering communication services and unified solutions across fixed line voice, connectivity and cloud computing to some of the UK’s most dynamic companies. Its customers include Farrow & Ball, Thwaites, Celtic Manor and 118 UK Ltd.

In 2019, it secured a funding package from mid-market private equity firm LDC and funds managed by Ares Management Corporation to help support organic and acquisitive growth.

Recent awards include the ‘Best Customer Service Award’ at the Mobile News Awards; ‘Best Unified Comms Dealer’ at the Mobile Industry Awards, and it has been named Vodafone Total Communications Partner of the Year for the last five years.

Onecom has its headquarters in Whiteley, Hampshire, and offices in Brighton, Shoeburyness, Leeds, Telford and Cardiff.

www.onecom.co.uk

About Olive

Olive Communications is one of the UK’s most progressive Managed Cloud Communications Providers, removing complexity and duplication whilst helping businesses optimise cost and deliver world-class customer service.

Olive has the proven capability to help navigate the changing technology landscape, particularly in a post-pandemic economy, supported by partnerships with market-leading names including Vodafone, Mitel, Google Cloud and Microsoft.

Olive supports over 150,000 end users across hundreds of organisations and is based in High Wycombe, with an office in Glasgow.

About LDC 

  • LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  
  • LDC has committed to invest £1.2bn in UK mid-market businesses over the next three years.     
  • LDC has a portfolio of 90 businesses across the UK, across a broad range of sectors including Construction & Property, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure and Support Services.    
  • LDC has a nationwide network of regional offices to provide a local presence to the businesses and communities it supports. 
  • For further information, visit www.ldc.co.uk/pressrelease   

About BGF: 

  • BGF was set up in 2011 and has invested £2.5bn in over 335 companies, making it the most active investor in the UK. 
  • BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner with a patient outlook on investments, based on shared long-term goals with the management teams it backs.
  • BGF invests in growing businesses in the UK and Ireland through its network of 16 offices.  
  • BGF models have now been set up in Canada and Australia,and other countries continue to evaluate the opportunity to also replicate this.
  • www.bgf.co.uk. Social media: @BGFinvestments
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Safiya Marzook

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