Full fibre provider acquires London business to boost its offering

Daren Baythorpe

A Daresbury-based full fibre provider has acquired a London operator, for an undisclosed sum.

ITS Technology Group has added dark fibre specialist NextGenAccess to its operations.

The deal brings 455km of dark fibre across Greater London, Newport, and South Essex to complement ITS’s existing full fibre footprint which is on track to pass 25% – around 500,000 – of UK business premises by the end of this year.

Alongside ITS’s strong organic growth and positive EBITDA position, the acquisition kickstarts its ‘build and buy’ strategy following its second round Aviva Investors infrastructure funding which secured a further £100m in April this year.

ITS designs, builds and operates wholesale full fibre networks known as ‘Faster Britain’ in the marketplace.

It has built a substantial partner offering which includes an self-service search, quote and order portal and APIs giving access to gigabit-capable full fibre solutions to any business across the country.

The additional footprint provided by the acquisition of NextGenAccess, coupled with the highly experienced senior management team and staff, and the significant enhancement to the portfolio of dark fibre services, further enriches what ITS can offer to its channel partners and their customers.

The acquisition will also allow ITS to grow its presence in the data centre connectivity marketplace, further developing NextGenAccess’s proposition. As a provider of ‘trunk’ connectivity, NextGenAccess has high levels of trust alongside high standards of delivery in this space, which is seen as a key growth area for ITS.

Daren Baythorpe, CEO of ITS Technology Group, said: “NextGenAccess is an extremely capable and exciting business with a very talented team that I am delighted to welcome on board. There are significant synergies between our two businesses. In addition to the fibre assets in the ground and portfolio of solutions, the experience that this team will bring to ITS will allow us to substantially bolster our dark fibre credentials.

“This will allow us to deepen our relationships with carriers, telecom operators, service providers, and resellers. This will also further accelerate our full fibre roll-out and reach as we play our part in creating a Gigabit Britain.”

He added: “We’re excited to expand our own data centre offering by developing NextGenAccess’s existing proposition in the space, as well as opening new opportunities on the network to deliver Layer 2 and 3 services to our partner community.”

Mark Weller, managing director at NextGenAccess, said: “Following a successful period of growth, backed by Amber Infrastructure since 2018, the time is right to take the next step and allow our partners and their customers to benefit from our significant joint capability and experience in the full fibre market.

“We are all very pleased that the ITS values and culture are extremely close to those already present within NextGenAccess which should make the integration of the businesses seamless.”

Chris Hogg, senior investment director at Amber Infrastructure, said: “We have worked closely with the NextGenAccess management team to develop the business since our investment in 2018. The combination of NextGenAccess with ITS enhances their footprint and gives significant joint capability and experience in the UK enterprise fibre market, helping to further accelerate the combined group’s planned fibre deployment.”

Dow Schofield Watts provided corporate finance advisory and FDD support for the transaction for ITS, and Hill Dickinson provided legal advice. Commercial market due diligence was conducted by Analysys Mason. Lincoln International was financial advisor and Bird & Bird was legal advisor to NextGenAccess on the transaction.