Inflexion Private Equity takes 30% stake in UKFast

Gail and Lawrence Jones

Manchester cloud hosting firm UKFast is closing a record 12 months by announcing a landmark investment from Inflexion Private Equity.

The investment into UKFast is being made by Inflexion’s dedicated minority investment fund, Partnership Capital, and involves a 30% stake in the business.

The deal sees the firm valued at £405m, based on £25m EBITDA.

UKFast is on track to declare £54m in revenues for 2018.

The IT infrastructure services market is worth around £2bn and estimated to be growing at around 9% per annum. UKFast’s strong growth in this market is driven by a paradigm shift from on-premise to cloud.

In July UKFast co-founder and chief executive Lawrence Jones spoke about plans for a possible flotation, and he said today: “It has been widely reported about our ambitions to IPO.

“After spending time in the City meeting fund managers I learned that it is incredibly important to align yourself with people who’ve got experience in areas that you don’t.

“When Inflexion threw their hat into the ring, alongside several others, there was an immediate connection.

“The Inflexion team have got an incredible reputation when they have invested pre-IPO. That reputation, coupled with their team headed up by Carl Wormald and Irina Hemmers, is something that gives us great confidence for the future.

“Growing a successful business is all about people. I am so proud of my management team and everyone who works at UKFast, when you think that they’ve grown this business from a spare bedroom in Manchester to where it is now.

“What’s even more incredible is the potential we have to take UKFast to new heights.”

He added: “Huge thanks to the team from GCA Altium, headed up by Phil Adams, and to Howard Gill from Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang. A complex deal like this can’t happen without brilliant people like these.”

Simon Turner, managing partner of Inflexion, said: “UKFast has proven itself as a market leader, with its Manchester campus and data centres being testament to the business’s dedication to service excellence and technical performance.

“Acknowledging the industry’s increasing appetite for public cloud, UKFast’s management launched ClearCloud in 2018, thereby enhancing its offering to existing clients as well as opening the door to new ones.

“We look forward to working with management to accelerate growth.”

Founded in 1999, by Lawrence Jones and Gail Jones, UKFast has grown to become one of the UK’s largest privately-owned hosting providers.

The company offers market-leading cloud and hosting platforms for businesses and government organisations to outsource their critical IT infrastructure.

UKFast recently ventured into public cloud providing integration and support for AWS and Azure through new division, ClearCloud.

The firm has five fully-owned, tier-3 data centres, all ISO 27001 certified, PCI-compliant and secured to UK Government IL4 standards.

The business also has a customer base of 5,500 UK SME clients and 200 mid-sized companies, which are served by UKFast’s 350 employees across its Manchester campus, London sales office and data centres.

Addleshaw Goddard’s Manchester office advised Inflexion as part of the deal, through a team led by Paul Medlicott with support from Andrew Green, Josie Marsden, Caroline Kavanagh, Liz D’Albert, Jade Saunders, Surayya Munshi and tax partner Justine Delroy.

Deloitte provided financial and tax vendor due diligence, led by Jodi Birkett, Michael Buckley, David O’Leary and Avril Edney.

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