Beech Tree Private Equity today announces a £35 million management buyout (“MBO”) of Wavenet, a specialist provider of Unified Communications (“UC”) solutions to UK SMEs. Beech Tree Private Equity seek out high growth sub-sectors in the UK to invest in and then find the strongest businesses in these sectors to help develop.
In addition to funding the MBO, Beech Tree Private Equity, together with the Royal Bank of Scotland, have committed a significant acquisition war chest to allow the business to make a number of key strategic bolt-ons to support the organic growth trajectory.
Wavenet, based in the Midlands, has significant expertise in unified communications having been early adopters of the technology. With SME businesses requiring increased data capacity together with hosted voice solutions, the demand for the services Wavenet provide is increasing rapidly. Wavenet has seen significant uptake in the demand for their solutions and now provide UC solutions to over 2,000 customers connecting in excess of 12,000 end points therefore making them one of the largest UC service providers to SMEs in the UK. The business was originally founded by Chris Jones in 2000 and in 2008 the current CEO, Bill Dawson, invested and joined the business to help Chris deliver his ambitious growth plans. Since this time the team has developed a number of specialist tools built around their own UK infrastructure network to enable high levels of automation and resilience whilst at the same time allowing the business to scale rapidly and easily integrate a variety of acquisitions.
As part of the transaction Beech Tree Private Equity has helped Bill and Chris further scale the team with the appointment of Andrew Ashton, joining the business as Finance Director and Edward Spurrier, the former CEO of Alternative Networks PLC, joining the board as Chairman. As part of the deal Paul Franks and Adam Rudd from Beech Tree Private Equity will join the board.
Bill Dawson, CEO of Wavenet said: “We are delighted that Beech Tree Private Equity are on board to support our growth plans, both organically and through acquisition. We believe we have found the right partners as both Paul and Adam really understand the sector and share our strategic ambitions. Furthermore, by tapping into their industry knowledge and network we have been able to strengthen our management team with the addition of Ed and Andrew. The most important point however for Chris and I is that Beech Tree Private Equity delivered on exactly what they said they would do from the outset”.
Paul Franks, Managing Partner at Beech Tree Private Equity said: “We are really excited to be working with Wavenet and have been extremely impressed with the technology and expertise that the team have created within the Wavenet business. The management team have clearly invested heavily in the technology and infrastructure which will make the delivery of our growth plans much easier. We are also backing a team that have completed several acquisitions very successfully in the past and with the capital we have injected to make acquisitions, we think we can significantly grow the business together”.
Notes to the Editor:
The key people and advisers to the deal are as follows:
Funders to the Transaction:
Beech Tree Private Equity – Paul Franks, Adam Rudd and Andy Marsh
Royal Bank of Scotland – Deepak Parekh and Danielle Hook
Advisers to Beech Tree Private Equity
Legal: Eversheds LLP (Antony Walsh, Ben Moylan, Nick Turner, and Amy Strettle)
Corporate Finance: Oakley Advisory (Christian Craggs and Anthony Yaneza)
Financial Due Diligence and Tax: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (Russell Worrall, Graham Watson and Nick Hatton).
IT due diligence: Diligent Consultancy (Dave Rogers)
Advisers to the Sellers:
Corporate Finance: Orbis Corporate Finance (Shah Zaki and Steve Nock)
Legal: Higgs and Sons (Richard Griffiths and Jody Webb)
Financial and Tax: Spencer Gardner Dickins (David Thomas)
Advisers to Management:
Legal – Gateley PLC (Chris Reed).
Advisers to Royal Bank of Scotland
Legal – Pinsents (Oliver Morgan)
About Beech Tree Private Equity Beech Tree Private Equity was formed with the vision to create a new type of investor. An investor to work in real partnership with management teams / founders to create market leading businesses in fast-growth sectors. We want to work with like-minded driven management teams to grow their businesses, providing capital, expertise and connectivity to collectively create real value growth. We will invest between £10m and £40m into UK headquartered businesses providing funding for Management Buy Outs, Secondary Capital (to provide partial cash out for founder shareholders) along with Primary Capital (to accelerate growth organically or through acquisition).