Takeover deal makes right connection with telecoms target

Neil Armstrong

United Living, a provider of services to the UK’s regulated utility infrastructure and property markets, with revenues of around £450m, has acquired Widnes-based Great British Communications (GBC), for an undisclosed sum.

GBC is a specialist provider of acquisition, design, build, procurement, installation, commissioning, maintenance and repair services to mobile network operators and is a key player in the roll-out of 5G.

This latest acquisition significantly enhances the group’s ability to provide critical infrastructure services for its customers.

United Living is based in Swanley, Kent, and trades through three main operating pillars: United Living Infrastructure Services (ULIS), United Living New Homes (ULNH) and United Living Property Services (ULPS).

ULIS has operations in in Warrington, and United Living also has reginal offices in Salford.

United Living chair and chief executive, Neil Armstrong, said: “Mobile and fixed line telecoms infrastructure is a key enabler of economic growth and social mobility in the UK and is attracting significant levels of investment.

“The roll-out of 5G will transform society, with advances in smart cities, utility grids and autonomous vehicles, and more importantly, will support UK decarbonisation targets.”

He added: “GBC will complement our existing utility infrastructure services and provide us with a platform to further grow into the telecoms space.

“We look forward to helping the GBC team build on its fantastic work so far and welcome them to United Living. I’m sure that, together, we will achieve more.”

Marc Creasy

Marc Creasy, managing director at GBC, said: “Joining United Living is an exciting move for GBC and a natural next step in the evolution of the company.

“We look forward to the benefits that being part of a larger, like-minded group will bring to our customers and our people. We share the same entrepreneurial spirt and belief, that delivery on our promises is paramount.

“The move will allow us to build upon our reputation for unrivalled attention to quality and customer service, as well as being part of a great place to work at United Living.”

United Living will retain the GBC brand identity, with existing contracts and ongoing service commitments continuing to be delivered to the highest standards.

The North West team at Grant Thornton, led by partner Peter Terry and assisted by Chris Ryan, Cariad Mudford and Amy Huddleston, advised GBC on its sale United Living.

Peter Terry said: “As part of a larger group, GBC is very well-placed to continue its impressive recent growth. We’re seeing significant interest from both private equity and trade buyers for high quality IT
and telecoms assets with strong growth potential.”

The Manchester office of law firm Mills & Reeve advised the shareholders of GBC (Chris Ross, Vicky Protano and Melissa Welch), while United Living was advised by Cavu Corporate Finance and Addleshaw Goddard.