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Onecom acquisition of rival creates £140m services company

Onecom has acquired its closest rival Olive Communications to create a £140m-plus business-to-business mobile, fixed-line and cloud services specialist.

Together, Onecom and Olive will provide services to more than 500,000 corporate and business end users this year. The combined entity has partnerships with Vodafone, Mitel, Google, Microsoft and others. The acquisition was supported with follow-on funding from mid-market private equity firm LDC, which invested in Onecom in a £100m deal in July 2019 to fuel the Hampshire, UK-based business’ three-year growth strategy.

Growth capital investor BGF, which invested £10m into Olive in 2016, has exited the business as part of the deal.

Olive’s chief executive Martin Flick has been appointed CEO of Onecom Group. Darren Ridge, who founded Onecom in 2002 and has grown the business to achieve annual revenues of more than £90m, remains a “significant shareholder” and will “remain active” as a non-executive director in the expanded company.

Onecom Group will continue to be headquartered at Whiteley, Hampshire. Buckinghamshire-based Olive Communications pivoted its offering in 2014 from being “mobile only” to also becoming a cloud services provider.

The acquisition brings together two of Vodafone’s most successful strategic partners. Onecom has been recognised as Vodafone Strategic Partner of the Year for an unrivalled ten years, while in 2020, Olive was awarded Vodafone’s Innovation Partner of the Year award.

Darren Ridge, non-executive director of Onecom Group, said: “We have seen Olive as healthy competitors for years and their market reputation for delivering cloud services is unrivalled. The inevitable changes to working patterns across the UK and globally as a result of the pandemic have accelerated the need for integrated cloud communications and increased demand for transformation and digitalisation.

“Bringing these two businesses together will significantly benefit our customers, partners and stakeholders and employees.”

Martin Flick, CEO of Onecom Group, added: “Darren and the Onecom board have given me the opportunity to bring these two fantastic businesses together, boasting a combined talent pool that is the envy of the industry. This, coupled with ongoing support from LDC, will supercharge our ambitions.”