Onecom buys Evolve in deal set to bring £7m new earnings in first year

Emily Weekes News, Onecom

Leading business communications specialist Onecom has announced it has acquired telecoms provider Evolve in a multi-million-pound deal.

The deal, finalised on Friday (July 29), is expected to bring Onecom an additional £7m of earnings before tax and deductions (EBITDA) in the first 12 months.

Onecom will take over Evolve’s operations in London, Cambridge and Shoeburyness, along with Cardiff-based The Word, which is owned by Evolve and will become Onecom’s first office in Wales.

Onecom and Evolve are two of Vodafone UK’s largest business to business partners within the Vodafone Partner Programme. Evolve, with an annual turnover of around £20m a year, is Vodafone UK’s third-largest partner, while Onecom, which currently turns over £60m a year, is the largest. Vodafone has no equity interest in either company.

The strategic acquisition, one of the most significant in Onecom’s history, consolidates the company’s position as the UK’s leading independent business telecommunications provider. It also enables further investment in its Total Communications drive, which sees mobile, fixed line, data and IT services offered to businesses as one integrated, cost-effective package.

The deal will instantly add around 100 staff to Onecom’s existing 350-strong workforce, and 65,000 UK Vodafone business connections to its portfolio of accounts – taking the company’s total number to well over 300,000.

One of Onecom’s first commitments will be to significantly invest in the Welsh operation, launching a recruitment drive to double the headcount there.

All Evolve and The Word offices will adopt Onecom branding and customer service systems as soon as is practical.

It is anticipated that as well as the recruitment drive in Wales, the deal will also create a significant number of new positions at Onecom’s offices throughout the UK.

Darren Ridge, Onecom CEO, said “This is a very significant acquisition for Onecom as we continue to grow our position as the UK’s leading independent business communications provider.

“Evolve’s customer-focused approach, expertise in unified communications and commitment to providing innovative solutions for businesses of all sizes perfectly reflect Onecom’s own strategy and values. Evolve is an extremely successful operation that will continue to blossom and grow under the Onecom brand.”

Nick Birtwistle, Director of Partnerships and Alliances at Vodafone UK, said: “This deal between two key Vodafone UK partners is exciting news for our channel and our customers.

“Both Onecom and Evolve have been a part of the Vodafone Partner Programme since its inception, and have led the field in expanding their capabilities to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs.

“This move will see them grow even further in strength, continuing to lead the Total Communications revolution.”

The acquisition comes during a busy year for Onecom, which recently invested £1m in a new distribution centre in Hampshire as part of its commitment to providing efficient, speedy service to its customers.

Earlier this month, the company won a top Vodafone UK partner award when it was named as Vodafone UK’s Total Communications Partner 2016. Onecom has also launched a recruitment drive, having created 30 new positions at its offices in Telford, Shropshire.

Alongside its Whiteley headquarters and the new locations acquired through the Evolve acquisition, Onecom has offices in London, Southampton, Plymouth, Leeds, Telford, Norwich and Brighton. To find out more, see www.onecom.co.uk

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