Darwin Private Equity has completed the £21.5m buy-out and refinancing of ASK4, a leading provider of telecommunications services to student accommodation and multi-tenant buildings.

ASK4 delivers WiFi, broadband and IPTV services to student accommodation buildings, private residential developments and serviced offices from its headquarters in Sheffield where it employs over 100 staff. It also operates a 180-rack tier-two data centre in the city.

ASK4 was founded by Jonathan Burrows in 2000 to provide internet access services to private residential multi-tenant buildings. The firm entered the student accommodation sector in 2005 following the acquisition of Horizon Telecoms, which was established by Jonathan Hudson.

The business, which recorded revenues of £10.2m in 2013, now provides its services to over 100,000 users across the UK. ASK4 works with leading private student accommodation providers, directly with universities and more than 400 businesses.

The deal sees Darwin back ASK4’s management team, which is led by Managing Director Jonathan Burrows, as the firm looks to build on its rapid expansion since 2005 and target organic growth opportunities in the UK and international markets. The transaction was supported by acquisition finance facilities from Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance.
Commenting on the deal, Jonathan Burrows said: “With demand greater than ever for reliable, high speed internet services, the timing is perfect for us to bring in external investment that will help us take the business into a new phase of growth. The team at Darwin has impressed us with its focus and understanding of our market. With its support, we are committed to developing our technology offering and continue to deliver value, innovation and quality service to our customers.”
Nick Jordan, Partner of Darwin Private Equity, who will join the board at ASK4, commented: “ASK4 has transformed over the past decade to establish itself as one of the leading players in the high growth broadband and TV services market for student accommodation and other multi-tenant buildings. Having built an exceptional reputation with its customers through its focus on quality, we look forward to developing our partnership with Jonathan and the rest of the team, who are well placed to capitalise on a number of growth opportunities.” 

KPMG’s corporate finance team in Leeds advised the shareholders of ASK4, while legal advice was provided by Irwin Mitchell. Darwin was advised by the corporate finance team at Grant Thornton and legal advice was provided by Macfarlanes. Due diligence was provided by BDO (financial due diligence), PwC (commercial due diligence) and Deloitte (structuring).
For more information on Ask4, please visit www.ask4.com 

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