Alantra advises Livingbridge on investment in North and follow-on acquisition of Data Techniques



Jul 2021
Buy-side advisory

Alantra has advised Livingbridge on its investment in North SP Group (North) and on the follow-on acquisition of Data Techniques. This investment will enable North’s accelerated growth in the UK and drive international expansion.

North is a highly technical integrated technology specialist delivering end-to-end networking and IoT application design, implementation, support, and managed services throughout the UK. North prides itself on driving innovation and leading the industry in the adoption of emerging technologies. Led by CEO, Glen Williams, North has over 270 staff.

North specializes in the provision of connectivity within complex environments where multiple layers of connectivity are required such as Wi-Fi, IoT, and 5G. The firm’s unique end-to-end offering has enabled it to build long-term, multi-year partnerships with a portfolio of blue-chip partners, including Aruba, Cisco and Nokia.

North pioneered a ground-breaking pilot with the latter in February 2021, which will see 5G technology deployed in an operational automotive environment for the very first time in the UK.

Data Techniques offers a similar service proposition and end-to-end capabilities as North and its customers largely comprise those with technologically complex environments including cloud infrastructure.

The acquisition of Data Techniques by North will enable the combined businesses to operate a national network of highly technical engineers covering the design, build, maintenance, and monitoring of IoT-ready local area networks, becoming a ‘one-stop shop’ for customers as they digitize their estates and buildings.

The communications and networking sector’s buoyant M&A activity is evidenced by the series of transactions Alantra has recently advised on including the sale of Livingbridge-backed Giacom to DWS, Graphite Capital’s £90m acquisition of Babble, Bowmark Capital’s investment in Focus Group and MML Capital on its acquisition of Arrow.

The Alantra team comprised James Chapman-Andrews, Oliver Norman, Milan Vashi and Joe Bills.

James Chapman-Andrews, Partner and UK Head of Technology at Alantra, commented: “North has rapidly become a leading provider of highly specialist services in technically complex environments – building, supporting and optimizing the IT infrastructure, networks and connectivity. The support of Livingbridge will enable North to capitalize on the vast market opportunity and to further accelerate growth. It has been a great pleasure working with Livingbridge and North’s management team and shareholders to achieve this exciting milestone.”

Matthew Caffrey at Livingbridge, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with North, a business with a unique breadth and depth of expertise across the IoT, networking and connectivity, and safety and security, and with a clear potential for growth. We are excited to work with CEO Glen Williams and his experienced management team to develop North’s strong capabilities and consolidate a fragmented industry through further M&A to better service the rapidly growing intelligent buildings and smart cities market.”

Glen Williams, CEO at North, commented: “We are thrilled to be entering the next stage of our growth journey with Livingbridge. Their strong track-record in investing in networking and field services businesses and in implementing successful M&A strategies make them the perfect partner in fast-tracking our growth. We are also delighted that Data Techniques will be joining the North business as their complementary strengths and key differentiators substantially strengthen our position in the market.”

Nick Crosby, Managing Director of Data Techniques, added: “The team at Data Techniques are delighted to be joining the North business.  Our two businesses are highly complementary. Together we create a UK-wide business of significant critical mass with deep experience and capability across multiple sectors and services.”

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