Lumison (Mark Howling / Bridgepoint)

Lumison, the UK provider of connectivity, hosting and managed IT services, that was acquired by Bridgepoint Development Capital in October 2010, has acquired, Blue Square Data, a data centre based provider of colocation services.

Blue Square Data, which has been acquired in a transaction with an initial consideration of £22 million, operates data centres in Maidenhead and Milton Keynes, providing a high quality environment in which customers can locate their servers in facilities with highly resilient power, cooling and network connectivity and high levels of security. It also provides customers with well trained on-site engineers to deal with fault diagnosis, software and hardware issue resolution and server installation and racking, as well as the ability to carry out technical project work.

Lumison provides similar data centre services from high quality facilities in Edinburgh and Croydon, as well as a range of IT and network managed services.

Whilst the legal nature of the transaction is that Lumison Group, supported by Bridgepoint Development Capital (BDC), has acquired Blue Square Data Group, operationally it is a merger. The businesses will be integrating data centre operations, network infrastructure and service delivery into a single coherent operation. The operational management will remain in place, and Matthew Munson, Blue Square Data’s CTO, will become the CTO of the combined group.

Lumison executive chairman Mark Howling said: “The acquisition of Blue Square Data will more than treble the rack capacity we can now offer our customers and extends our catchment area of potential customers across the UK. Importantly, it means that our aim of creating a fully integrated, high quality, medium-sized services provider that can provide the full range of IT and network services that medium sized organisations need, has taken an important step forward.”

Matthew Munson commented that: “The combined business will have data centres spanning from Croydon in the south, through Maidenhead and Milton Keynes to Edinburgh in the north. For many organisations it is important that they are within close proximity to the data centre and this development helps us to support their expansion plans, as well as enabling us to offer them a broader range of services from all locations. The culture of our two organisations is very similar and this was an important factor in deciding to join forces with Lumison, and as such I am very excited about what the future holds for the new enlarged group.”

Bridgepoint Development Capital estimates that the total UK data centre hosting market is worth c.£15 billion and is growing at more than 10% per annum, driven by growth in data volumes and the trend towards companies outsourcing hosting requirements to third parties as the scale and complexity of these activities exceeds their internal IT capabilities.

According to Alan Payne, partner of Bridgepoint Development Capital, the original aim in acquiring Lumison, was for it to become the platform for further growth to which, through selective acquisition and organic growth, a broader and deeper range of services could be added.

“Data centres are scarce assets and the acquisition of Blue Square Data not only allows Lumison to tap further into a large and rapidly growing market but also fits perfectly into our overall ‘buy and build’ strategy for its broader expansion within the important SME IT services market.” He said.

Additional equity funding for the transaction was provided by Bridgepoint Development Capital and Lumison’s incumbent bank HSBC extended existing facilities to provide further senior debt. Advisers involved in this transaction included: for Lumison – Travers Smith (legal), Deloitte (accounting due diligence), CIL (commercial due diligence), Regent (corporate finance); for Blue Square Data management – Hogan Lovells (legal).