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“Strategic merger” for Manchester’s Freedom Fibre

A major deal has been announced between two of the UK’s biggest alternative local fibre providers.

The strategic merger of InfraBridge-backed VX UK Holdings and Manchester’s Freedom Fibre will create a single group controlled by InfraBridge.

The new operation will provide fibre connectivity to more than 285,000 premises across the North West and Midlands.

“The combination of VX UK and Freedom Fibre, with the backing of our shareholders, brings together two of the UK’s leading altnets into a new, stronger company,” explained Damian Stanley, Managing Partner, InfraBridge.

“Our businesses are highly complementary, including our geographic proximity, the quality of our network build and our retail and wholesale go-to-market strategies, and we now have a platform with the support of TalkTalk to provide ongoing connections across the enlarged business.”

The new group will operate as Freedom Fibre and be run by company founder and CEO, Neil McArthur. Darren Woods, currently Freedom Fibre’s CFO will take on the same role at the new company.

VX UK has a presence in Stoke on Trent and its surrounding areas, as well as a contract with Stoke City Council, providing connectivity for local authority premises. It markets its broadband service to local consumers through its LilaConnect brand, alongside a wholesale offering for local ISPs. The company also has fibre assets in Bristol and Colchester. 

Manchester-based Freedom Fibre offers wholesale-only services on its network and has a long-term agreement with TalkTalk – which is a minority stakeholder. It’s also backed by infrastructure investor, Equitix.

“This is a strategic merger which leverages the strengths of both Freedom Fibre and VX UK to create a larger, stronger and more diverse business backed by two significant investors with ambitions for growth,” added Neil McArthur, CEO, Freedom Fibre.

“We are delighted to be joining forces with the VX team and are hugely excited about the future potential of this newly combined business.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close by the end of Q1 24.

VX UK’s parent company, VNEXT AB, headquartered in Sweden, remains managed by InfraBridge. 

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