14 Jun 2012
YFM Equity Partners exits Metronet
YFM Equity Partners has sold its investment in Metronet (UK) Limited, the fast-growing hybrid wireless and fibre Internet service provider to private equity firm LDC, making a significant return on its original investment. As part of the buyout, LDC has invested £11m of equity.
Based at Manchester Science Park, Metronet (UK) provides business critical data infrastructure to over 500 UK companies, from SMEs to large corporates such as Laing O’Rourke and Grant Thornton. Its services include high speed connectivity such as wireless and fibre leased lines and metropolitan Ethernet networks, managed services, such as voice over internet protocol (VoIP), co-location and managed hosting, and wireless leased data services to support CCTV installations, where customers include Greater Manchester Police Authority.
Metronet (UK) was founded in 2003 James McCall, Operations Director, Roy Davies, Finance Director, Bill Riordan, Business Development Director, and former Chairman, David Ashmore. In 2004, YFM Equity Partners originally invested via the North West Business Investment Scheme (an ERDF 2000-06 funded Venture Capital Loan Fund project) for a minority stake in Metronet having been introduced to the business by angel investor group Acceleris. Since that time the company’s profits have almost quadrupled as it has expanded operations primarily in the North West & Midlands.
Commenting, Angela Warner, Portfolio Director said: “YFM Equity Partners, through NWBIS, has provided several rounds of development capital funding since we invested in the company in 2004 to support the expansion of operations to Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool. The company still has significant opportunities for further growth and we wish the management team continued success.”
Elliott Mueller, CEO of Metronet (UK), said: “This is an important step in our development. Acceleris and YFM Equity Partners have supported the business from a start-up to becoming the largest hybrid Internet service provider to businesses in the UK. This has provided a strong platform for further expansion at a time when business’ requirements and demand for service quality continue to increase, driven by the acceleration of cloud computing and increasingly data-dependent business models and operations.
Norman Molyneux of Acceleris Limited said, ‘On behalf of itself and its angel investors, Acceleris is extremely pleased to have supported Metronet (UK) from start-up to its pre-eminent position in the provision of wireless IP solutions to businesses in the UK and wishes management every success for the future. All investors are delighted with the return on their early stage investment.
Angela Warner went on to say: “Now in its 30th year, YFM Equity Partners has a history of supporting SME’s such as Metronet through various stages of development and is actively seeking new investment opportunities across the UK and particularly in the North West via the £45m North West Fund for Development Capital.”