High Wycombe’s Olive Communications sold to Onecom to create £140 mn turnover biz

Onecom Olive comms

Onecom has acquired its closest rival, High Wycombe based Olive Communications, in a move which creates the largest business-to-business mobile, fixed-line and cloud specialist in the UK.

Together, Onecom and Olive will provide services to more than 500,000 corporate and business end users this year, generating combined annual turnover of more than £140 million.

The acquisition was supported with follow-on funding from mid-market private equity firm LDC, which invested in Onecom in a £100 million deal in July 2019 to fuel the Hampshire-based business’s ambitious three-year growth strategy. Growth capital investor BGF, which invested £10million 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 £90 million, remains a significant shareholder and will remain active in his Non-Executive Director role. The newly-expanded Onecom Group will continue to be headquartered at Whiteley, Hampshire.

Martin said: “Our combined scale, expertise, experience and proximity to customer need affords us the perfect proposition to help customers of all sizes to navigate their journey through the short and long term economic landscape. This, coupled with ongoing support from LDC, will supercharge our ambitions.”

Matthew Simcox, investor at BGF, said: “This is a fantastic result for Olive and BGF. We backed Olive in 2016 and over the last five years, the business has continued to build on its mobile heritage and become a market leader in cloud communications. We wish Martin Flick and his team all the best on their future journey.”

Olive Communications has grown through organic and acquisitive means to more than £31 million in annual revenue, pivoting its proposition in 2014 from being “mobile only” to become the UK’s leading cloud communications 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 10 years, while in 2020, Olive was awarded Vodafone’s Innovation Partner of the Year Award.

Darren Ridge, Non-Executive Director of Onecom Group said: “I’m really proud of all that we have achieved so far at Onecom in leading the market to deliver exceptional service to our customers and forming strong relationships with key partners.

“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 significantly increased demand for transformation and digitalisation.”