Private equity firm acquires 30% stake in UKFast

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

Private equity firm Inflexion has acquired a stake of around 30% in UKFast, valuing the Manchester-based hosting provider at £405million.

The deal follows a record year for UKFast, with revenue for 2018 set to hit £54m. Earlier this year it confirmed it was preparing for a stock market flotation.

The investment is being made by Inflexion’s dedicated minority investment fund, Partnership Capital.

Founded in 1999 by Lawrence Jones MBE and Gail Jones, UKFast has grown to become the UK’s largest privately owned hosting provider.

The business has a customer base of 5,500 UK SME clients and 200 mid-sized companies, with 350 staff across its Manchester campus, London sales office and data centres.

CEO and co-founder Lawrence Jones said: “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.”

Inflexion, which has a base in Manchester, has already invested in regional businesses including Bollington Wilson, Optionis, Tekton and British Engineering Services.

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.”

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