Family-owned 5G contractor acquired by £450m-turnover group

A 5G mobile technology contractor based in Widnes has been acquired by a £450m-turnover group.

Family-owned Great British Communications (GBC) was founded in 2012 and now has in the region of 200 employees.

It is a specialist provider of acquisition, design, build, procurement, installation, commissioning, maintenance and repair services to mobile network operators and is aiding the roll out of 5G.

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In the year to May 2021 the company had revenues of £28m, and has said it is “expecting further significant growth” in the current year.

It has been acquired by Kent-based United Living Group, a property and utility infrastructure company backed by Elysian Capital.

United Living chair and chief executive Neil Armstrong said: “Mobile and fixed line telecoms infrastructure is a key enabler of economic growth and social mobility in the UK and is attracting significant levels of investment.

“The roll out of 5G will transform society, with advances in smart cities, utility grids and autonomous vehicles, and more importantly, will support UK decarbonisation targets.

“GBC will complement our existing utility infrastructure services and provide us with a platform to further grow into the telecoms space.

“We look forward to helping the GBC team build on its fantastic work so far and welcome them to United Living. I’m sure that together, we will achieve more.”

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Marc Creasy, founder and managing director at GBC, added: “Joining United Living is an exciting move for GBC and a natural next step in the evolution of the company.

“We look forward to the benefits that being part of a larger, like minded group will bring to our customers and our people. We share the same entrepreneurial spirit and belief, that delivery on our promises is paramount.

“The move will allow us to build upon our reputation for unrivalled attention to quality and customer service, as well as being part of a great place to work at United Living.”

The Manchester office of law firm Mills&Reeve advised the shareholders of GBC (Chris Ross, Vicky Protano and Melissa Welch), while United Living was advised by Cavu Corporate Finance and Addleshaw Goddard.

The North West team at Grant Thornton, which advised GBC, was led by partner Peter Terry assisted by Chris Ryan, Cariad Mudford and Amy Huddleston.

Mr Terry said: “Marc and his entrepreneurial management team at GBC have done an exceptional job in building a best-in-class contractor playing an integral role in the roll-out of 5G, one of the most exciting new mobile technologies seen for a generation.

“As part of a larger group, GBC is very well-placed to continue its impressive recent growth.

“We’re seeing significant interest from both private equity and trade buyers for high quality IT and telecoms assets with strong growth potential.”

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