Pemberton Backs FluidOne’s Bold Plans with Strategic Refinancing Agreement

FluidOne, a major player in the B2B space, just announced a new long-term refinancing deal with Pemberton Asset Management. This move is set to turbocharge their plans to triple in size over the next five years.

That is a hefty statement, and to be honest, I’d normally assume that type of growth is more “hot air” for investors than factual information. BUT, this outfit has already hit some impressive numbers.

Let’s rewind a bit. Since 2019, when Livingbridge backed an MBO led by CEO Russell Horton, FluidOne has been on an impressive growth ride. They’ve quadrupled in size, raking in £109m in revenue through eight acquisitions, all while maintaining a top tier customer service (NPS 89). Their smart acquisition strategy has transformed them into one of the UK’s top IT and Cyber Security-led managed service providers, with over 50% of their revenue coming from IT and cyber services.

You can see FluidOne has always had a clear vision and understanding of the future in IT/Cloud/Cyber, moving from a connectivity-first player to an EMSP (Expert Managed Service Provider) (before you jump on Google, I made that acronym up).

Here’s a list of some of the acquisitions we can find online:

  • March 2024: SureCloud Cyber Services (Cyber)
  • Dec 2023: CNC (Cloud/IT)
  • Apr 2023: Projective (IT)
  • Feb 2023: Highlander Computing Solutions (Cloud IT)
  • Jan 2022: SAS Global Communications (Cloud & IT)
  • Jan 2021: Cyber Security Associates (Cyber)
  • Nov 2020: PSU (IT)

According to FluidOne, 50% of their revenue now comes from IT & Cyber services.

So, why this new finance deal? Pemberton is stepping up with facilities to support a full refinancing and a committed acquisition facility. Translation: FluidOne is gearing up to buy multiple businesses a year, so they can reach those large revenue targets.

I’ve said it before, but the next two years will be incredibly exciting to watch. It’s no secret that some of the larger “voice-first” players have been making heavy moves in acquiring IT/Cloud/Cyber firms, wanting to follow the same recipe for success. I suppose the upside for FluidOne is their experience in moulding these new “tech-heavy” brands and integrating systems into the group, which some voice resellers may find challenging.

Commenting on the news Russell Horton, FluidOne CEO, said:

“It gives me great pleasure to announce our new partnership with Pemberton. To support our ambitious plans, we ran a process to seek a refinance package that would give flexibility and facilities to support us over the long term. During this competitive process Pemberton stood out as the ideal partner given how their expert team engaged to devise a tailored package to fit our requirements and due to their track record of supporting high growth, evolving businesses. We have our next acquisition in process that will be the first deployment of our new facility, and a pipeline of follow-on targets that fit our Connected Cloud Solutions strategy.”

Simon Hollingsworth, Partner at Livingbridge, said:

“The new debt facility provides the scale and flexibility we were seeking to support the next phase of growth for FluidOne in an exciting growth market. The strategy since investment with Russell and the team has been to build critical capability in the highest value, next generation product sets to make FluidOne the leading UK IT and Cyber managed service provider. We now believe we have the right value add capabilities to deliver this across both customer segments and market verticals, making FluidOne a high quality and differentiated business. “

Richard Meehan, Managing Director, at Pemberton, said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with the FluidOne team and Livingbridge on this transaction. Russell and his team have built an exceptional platform across both product capability and customer service levels, translating into market leading customer satisfaction and retention rates.

Pemberton has considerable experience in the I.T. services market and view the business to be ideally positioned to benefit from continued strong demand for cloud and cyber security services. We also look forward to helping the Company execute on its ambitious acquisition strategy, with a number of near-term targets already well progressed.”

Moving on, let’s talk about some numbers: FluidOne operates in a UK market where businesses spend a whopping £36bn a year on IT, Cyber, and Communications. Their sweet spot? Companies with 100-2500 employees (a difficult space to enter). FluidOne’s critical services are in high demand, driven by digital transformation and the shift to cloud-based IT and voice applications. Their expertise in IT modernization, cyber security, business intelligence, and advanced connectivity is just what the doctor ordered.

FluidOne supports the needs of 2,500 customers, including 200 channel resellers, with IT and Cyber Security managed services backed by connectivity and communications solutions. They design solutions that complement in-house IT structures, simplifying complex hybrid multi-site environments so end-users can access business applications anywhere, securely.

Their client list is a who’s who, including Barratt Homes, Krispy Kreme, Metro Bank, and McLaren Construction. They’ve got full accreditation across various Microsoft and Cyber Security standards and a strong focus on quality with six ISOs.

Services offered? Everything. Cyber Security (Microsoft Sentinel, MDR, Penetration Testing as a service), IT Managed Services (Azure transformation, Copilot, Modern Workplace, LAN, WiFi), Business Intelligence (Microsoft Fabric, PowerBi, Snowflake, Databricks), Connectivity (MPLS, ethernet, DSL, FTTP, SD-WAN, SASE, Mobile and IoT), and Communications (Microsoft Teams voice, 8×8, Mitel, SIP).

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Jonny Rae

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