Fibre network provider clinches £45m deal following sale

Ryan Bevington

Maven Capital Partners has announced the sale of Chester-based ITS Technology Group to Aviva Investors for an undisclosed amount.

ITS designs, builds and operates full fibre and hybrid networks across the UK, giving business and residential communities access to gigabit capable connectivity.

ITS says it has secured a £45m deal with Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva, to allow it to build several new full fibre networks, as well as to build out its current footprint, contributing to the Government’s ‘full fibre to every premise’ agenda.

Maven VCTs originally invested in 2017 with additional investment from the Maven managed Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) in 2018 to enable expansion of the business into new geographical locations, as well as to strengthen their sales and operational capabilities.

ITS has pioneered a ‘dig once’ model that re-uses existing public and private duct infrastructure and it has a number of partnerships with local authorities.

This approach reduces the disruption that civils road digs create and accelerates the rollout of full fibre infrastructure.

ITS networks are ‘open access’, giving wholesale access to internet service providers (ISPs), network and mobile network operators, and IT resellers.

The sale to Aviva Investors generates a positive return for the Maven VCTs and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, and allows the business to raise significant additional capital to take advantage of further opportunities in the fibre market.

Ryan Bevington, investment director at Maven, said: “The sale to Aviva Investors is a strategic move for the business and is testament to the quality of the ITS management team.

“We’re delighted to have played our part in bringing the team together and would like to thank them for their hard work and wish them good luck for the next stage of their journey.”

Daren Baythorpe, chief executive of ITS said: “I would like to thank Maven Capital Partners for its support over the last three years.

“They have provided excellent financial backing, advice and counsel which has helped enable the business to transform into a focused network operator that is disrupting the full fibre marketplace.

“It has seen us build a strong business, develop a very capable team, and put us in a great place to start the next phase of our growth.”

He added: “We are really excited to be working in partnership with an investor of Aviva’s calibre.

“It gives us considerable financial backing to further flex our re-use muscles and continue to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

“This approach allows us to connect more customers to full fibre far quicker than the industry norm.

“With BT’s public switched telephone and copper network switch off plans now in progress, the race to build alternative futureproof full fibre IP-based networks is on to ensure coverage and choice for end-users – ITS is proud to be playing our role in achieving the UK’s ambitious plans.”

Sean McLachlan, senior director, infrastructure equity, Aviva Investors, said: “Aviva Investors is pleased to support the roll-out of ITS’s full fibre broadband network.

“There is a clear and growing demand for this essential infrastructure across the country. The funding from Aviva Investors will allow ITS and its management team to build on its existing infrastructure and brand to accelerate its network expansion and to provide world-class infrastructure across the country.”

Having recently launched a full fibre network along the Fylde Coast in Lancashire, ITS currently operates networks across areas including Bristol, East Midlands, Greater Manchester, North Wales, the North East and South East including London.

Ken Cooper, managing director at British Business Bank said: “The sale of ITS Technology Group is a significant moment for NPIF.

“It demonstrates how regionally-based funds can make good commercial investments that make a real and measurable difference to businesses and help to create a more prosperous regional economy.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

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