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Livingbridge dials up investment in telecoms specialist

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Livingbridge has invested in Southern Communications, one of the UK’s oldest telecoms firms which can trace its roots back to 1965.

Today, Southern Communications provides SME businesses across the UK with a range of services including fixed-line, data, mobile and cloud based services alongside sale, installation and maintenance of telephone systems.

Over the past three years, Southern Communications has completed the acquisition of eight businesses, transforming itself into one of the UK’s largest providers of business-to-business telecoms services with a turnover of over £30 million, over 6,600 business customers and a workforce of over 160 employees operating from four locations in the UK.

Livingbridge have taken a minority stake in the business and, following the investment, will work with the management team to help grow the customer base, introduce new product lines and services and execute strategic acquisitions to augment the firm’s organic growth plans.

As part of the transaction, the business has also secured a new, £36 million loan facility from Santander and HSBC. In addition, David Goldie, former CEO of TalkTalk, will join the business as Chairman and work alongside Paul Bradford, CEO, who originally joined the Group in 1995 and led a management buyout of the firm in 2002.

Livingbridge is an experienced TMT investor and Southern Communications will join a portfolio which includes IT and managed services provider CableCom, internet services provider Metronet and call recording software business Redbox Recorders.

Paul Bradford, CEO, Southern Communications, said:   “I am really excited about working with both Livingbridge and David Goldie to continue the Southern Communications journey.  David brings with him significant experience having acquired over 40 businesses during his time at TalkTalk and, alongside the investment from Livingbridge, I feel like we have secured the perfect team to drive our ongoing development.  This investment will provide us with significant firepower to acquire complimentary businesses as we seek to build on the strong momentum we have generated and move towards our stated aim of doubling in size over the next three to five years.”

Matthew Caffrey at Livingbridge said:  “Southern Communications has a strong and consistent track record of both organic and acquisitive growth and has a fantastically well positioned product portfolio to service SMEs’ IT service and telecommunications needs. They are a real market leader in their field with recurring revenues of more than 90% and an industry leading customer retention rate.  We’re looking forward to working with Paul and the team and helping them build on the strong progress the business has made to date.”

 

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