Onecom's rise as a major force in the channel has received a rocket boost with the acquisition 9 Group. In a single swoop the deal adds 450 indirect channel partners as well as 5,000 telephony, hosted voice and on-premise customers via 9 Retail.
The acquisition comes just weeks after Onecom pocketed close rival Olive Communications, and is the fourth transaction since mid-market private equity firm LDC backed the business in July 2019.
.The deal moves Onecom’s product mix of mobile and non-mobile communications solutions to a broadly 50/50 split which includes a full range of broadband and data connectivity, cloud telephony, contact centre and collaboration services to complement its mobile heritage.
The acquired companies will retain their branding and continue to trade separately as clearly distinct direct and indirect routes to market.
James Palmer, founder and CEO of 9 Group, will remain actively involved with the business along with his management team.
Martin Flick (pictured), Onecom CEO, said: “This is a highly significant strategic acquisition for Onecom Group, strengthening our portfolio and further diversifying our revenue streams by adding a large non-mobile telephony provider and a channel partner community as a new route to market in one move.
“Supporting and investing in channel partners is essential to our ambition as we go forward. We have a well established footprint in enterprise and the mid-market and the acquisition will help us, through partners, drive sales of our products and services to businesses of all sizes, with a high degree of proximity to customer need that only a channel can deliver to SMBs at this scale.
“Onecom founder Darren Ridge has been instrumental in working with James to forge the opportunity our enlarged group now represents and I am excited to be leading the team in growing and developing the strategy.”
James Palmer, CEO of 9 Group, added: “Onecom and 9 Group are a perfect marriage, sharing a like-minded culture focused on enjoying our work and striving for excellence in everything we do.
"I am excited about bringing our two businesses together and working with the Onecom team so that customers and partners across the board benefit from new opportunities of scale and increased capability.”
Yann Souillard, Head of London at LDC, added: “Acquiring 9 Group will further expand Onecom’s offering and help it reach even more customers, underlining its position as one of the fastest-growing business telecoms providers in the UK.
“We continue to work closely with all of our portfolio companies to help them to captialise on acquisition opportunities which help build scale and resilience.”
Following the transaction, Onecom becomes the owner of the 9 Group brand. Former 9 Group company eve Networks and the group’s separate IT business are not part of the deal and will remain under their existing ownership.