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Southern Communications secures investment to accelerate expansion plans

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Basingstoke based Southern Communications has secured substantial investment from leading private equity firm Livingbridge and significant finance from Santander and HSBC to continue its impressive growth over the next 3-5 years.

Southern Communications has seen rapid expansion over the past five years with a turnover growing from £10m to £32m making it one of the fastest growing UK independent communications companies.  Growth has been attributable to a well thought out and executed plan that has combined organic growth with a strong acquisition programme.

Livingbridge has taken a minority stake in Southern Communications and combined with a new, £36 million loan facility secured from Santander and HSBC, Southern Communications now have the acquisition fire power to match their aspirations, with plans to double revenues in the next 3-5 years.  

As another impressive statement of intent, David Goldie has joined the board as Group Chairman.  David, previously CEO at TalkTalk, has an outstanding reputation and track record in the market and will add even more depth to an already strong board of directors at Southern Communications.

David is reunited with Mat Kirk, Southern’ s Commercial Director, having worked together at Carphone Warehouse/TalkTalk where they acquired 40+ businesses over a five year period while growing Opal/TalkTalk.  Paul Bradford CEO commented “With the investment from Livingbridge and the appointment of David, I feel like we have secured the perfect team to drive Southern Communications growth with very experienced hands helping us steer the growth of the business”.

Over the past three years Southern Communications has made eight acquisitions and this will continue to feature strongly alongside organic growth and new product adoption.    

This investment sees Southern Communication join Livingbridge’ s extensive array of portfolio companies in the telecommunications, connectivity and managed services segment of the TMT sector.  These include Metronet, Cablecom, Onyx, IP Solutions and Redbox.  

Paul Bradford, CEO, Southern Communications said “I am really excited about working with Livingbridge and David Goldie to continue the Southern Communications journey, driving innovative products and services – both to our existing customers and to new customers as we grow our business.”

Matthew Caffrey, Livingbridge Director, 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.”    

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

It is now one of the top telecom resellers in the UK with turnover of over £32 million, over 6,600 business customers and a workforce of 160+ employees operating from four locations in the UK.

Southern Communications was advised by Chris Godsmark of Oakley Advisory, one of Europe’s leading independent corporate finance firms.

About Southern Communications

Southern Communications Ltd is registered in England.  Based in Dummer, Basingstoke, Southern Communications has been delivering communication solutions to businesses in the UK since 1965. The company employs 160 staff from four UK locations.  It is one of the oldest telecoms companies in the UK and today offers fixed line, data, mobile and cloud based services to businesses and non-profit organisations across the UK. www.southern-comms.co.uk

About Livingbridge

  • Livingbridge is a mid-market private equity firm with UK offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester and an Australian office in Melbourne.
  • Livingbridge applies a research-led, sector-focused approach to investment in unquoted companies in the UK and across Europe.
  • Core areas of interest are: Business Services; Financial Services; Consumer Markets; Healthcare & Education; Technology, Media & Telecommunications; Energy & Environmental. 
  • Livingbridge typically invests in transactions where the transaction size is between £5m and £100m in value, in companies with profits in excess of £1m (typical Livingbridge investment between £2m and £40m).
  • Livingbridge invests on behalf of both institutional and retail investors (Livingbridge 5, Livingbridge Enterprise 2 and the three Baronsmead VCTs). 
  • Livingbridge has funds under management of £1.5bn as at 31 December 2015