Metronet finds third private equity backer in ISIS Equity Partners

ISIS Equity Partners has made a fifth investment from its ISIS V £360 million fund, which was closed in 2012.

Technology business Metronet has closed a £45 million management buy-out (MBO) with help from ISIS Equity Partners.

The Manchester-based company is involved with wired and wireless internet and provides services from leased lines to multi-site networks throughout the UK. Having grown out from its 2003 launch to a position where the business has operations in Lancashire, Cheshire, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham, Metronet has customers including Laing O’Rourke and Autotrader.

By closing the MBO, Metronet has ended its partnership with previous backer LDC. During the two years since LDC led a buy-out of the business, Metronet has grown by 98 per cent in terms of revenue, and 83 per cent for EBITDA.

Elliot Mueller, CEO of Metronet and lead on the deal, comments, ‘Metronet is entering a very exciting phase of growth and we have some major plans to invest in the network over the coming years to support geographic expansion.

‘This investment from ISIS will help us realise our ambition to build Metronet into the country’s leading B2B internet service provider.’

As part of the deal, ISIS representatives Matthew Caffrey and Mark Advani will be joining the board of Metronet to advise on future growth. Capital from the £45 million deal will be used to expand into new territories as Metronet looks to become the UK’s ‘first ubiquitous wireless network infrastructure’.

ISIS exits during 2013:

Sat alongside Mueller on the management team are company founder James McCall, Steven Axon, Craig Timmis and Lee Lawrence.

Caffrey, director at ISIS Equity Partners, says, ‘ISIS is backing an outstanding team and a compelling, disruptive customer proposition that is competitively and technologically differentiated for other ISPs [internet service providers] by its wireless technology.

‘We are very exited to partner with Metronet during its next phase of growth and look forward to continued expansion and success.’

Prior to being backed by LDC, Metronet was also invested in by YFM Equity Partners. In 2004, YFM invested via the North West Business Investment Scheme (an ERDF 2000-06 funded Venture Capital Loan Fund project) for a minority stake in Metronet having been introduced to the business by angel investor group Acceleris.

Hunter Ruthven

Bernard Williamson

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.