LDC secures 4x return on Metronet exit

The Manchester office of LDC has exited its investment in Metronet (UK) Limited through a £45million secondary buyout backed by Living Bridge, representing a 4x money equity return on its equity investment.

LDC invested £11million in the business in June 2012 to accelerate Metronet (UK)’s growth by expanding the capabilities and reach of its hybrid network across the UK, as well as make further investment in its infrastructure and services.

Based in Manchester, Metronet (UK) is a business-only Internet Services Provider that combines innovative wireless technology with traditional fibre to deliver connectivity solutions from leased lines to complex, multi-site networks across the UK.

Founded in 2003, Metronet (UK) has grown very rapidly from its Manchester base into Lancashire, Cheshire, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham and is now expanding further afield.  Widespread adoption of cloud-based services has seen customer growth accelerate and the company now has over 1,200 customers including Laing O’Rourke, Autotrader, Capgemini and Umbro.

Elliott Mueller, CEO, has led the business since 2007, alongside James McCall, who founded Metronet (UK) in 2003 with the operational team of Steven Axon, Craig Timmis and Lee Lawrence. Together they have built a strong team around them.  In 2014, they collectively won the BVCA Mid-Market Private Equity backed Management Team of the Year in the North West.

Since LDC backed the MBO of Metronet (UK) in 2012, revenue at the business has grown by 98 per cent, while EBITDA has risen by 83 per cent over the same period.

Jonathan Bell, Director and Co-Head of LDC in the North West, said: “Over the past two years, we have worked hard to support Metronet (UK)’s growth aspirations as it capitalises on rapidly developing networking technology and demand for connectivity. Our investment has provided tangible, transformative change which has helped to establish the business as a leader in the UK Internet service market. We wish Elliott, the rest of the management team and staff all the best as Metronet (UK) takes its next steps on its growth journey.”

The Acquisition Finance team at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking provided senior debt and working capital facilities to support the transaction.

LDC and the management team at Metronet (UK) were advised by Stuart Lees, Chris Hopwood, Phil Adams and Dominic Orsini from Altium. ISIS was advised by Mason Advisory, Oakley Capital (corporate advisory), Pinsent Masons (legals), LEK (commercial due diligence) and PwC (finance due diligence). Paul Jefferson of Gateleys provided legal advice for LDC, management and Living Bridge.

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  
  2. LDC backs ambitious management teams from UK-based medium sized companies seeking up to £100m of investment to fund management buyouts or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure, Support Services, Construction & Property and Financial Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network with locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Reading.