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Business & Economy

Nice Network acquired by Onecom to accelerate growth in the North East market

North East telecommunications specialist Nice Network Ltd is targeting growth after being acquired by one of the UK’s largest independent business telecommunications provider, Onecom.

The acquisition of the Sunderland based company, for an undisclosed sum, establishes a physical presence for Onecom, which is backed by leading mid-market private equity firm LDC, in the North East and supports Nice Network’s continued expansion in the region.

Founded in 1986 by Managing Director Chris Lee, the business was originally called CCS and was rebranded as Nice Network in 2018. Over the past few years, the business has enjoyed strong growth serving many large corporate customers and high growth SMEs across the North East.

A provider of mobile and telecommunication software and hardware, alongside cyber security and connectivity services, Nice Network has experienced significant demand from customers since March as it supports increased remote working for the North East workforce of many of its customers during the pandemic.

Nice Network works alongside all of the major network providers including O2 and EE and has a strategic partnership with Vodafone.

Chris and the existing management team will remain with the business, which will continue to operate rom Nice Networks’ Sunderland headquarters, whilst working closely with Onecom to further scale its operations across the North East.

With its headquarters in Hampshire, Onecom has a network of seven regional offices employing more than 400 people. It works closely with partners including Samsung, Apple, Vodafone, Mitel and Gamma.

The acquisition of Nice Network marks the second significant acquisition by Onecom this year.

Advising the shareholders of Nice Network was Carl Swansbury, partner and head of corporate finance at Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance (RGCF), supported by corporate finance senior manager, Rhiannon Nightingale and corporate finance manager, Connor McBride.

Tax advice was provided by TTR Barnes with legal advice from Tom Pollard and Liam Stubbs of national law firm, Ward Hadaway.

Corporate finance advice for Onecom was provided by Arrowpoint Advisory, with legal advice from Shoosmiths. Financial and tax due diligence was provided by RSM.

Chris Lee, managing director of Nice Network, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to further scale our operations in the North East with the support of a large, national, PE-backed strategic partner.  We have established a strong track record for technical expertise and customer service, which has enabled us to build a considerable customer base and will lead to us becoming an important part of Onecom’s UK operations.”

Christian Craggs, director of M&A and strategy at Onecom, said: “The telecommunications sector is playing a crucial role in supporting the operational resilience of businesses across the UK and will continue to do so as we look ahead over the next three years. We are pleased to welcome Nice Network into the Onecom Group. Chris and the Nice Network team have achieved an outstanding reputation as a regional leader in the North East and we are looking forward to working with them as part of Onecom.”

Carl Swansbury, partner and head of corporate finance at RGCF, said: “Nice Network has become one of the North East’s largest resellers of telecoms and connectivity hardware and software with a highly experienced team led by Chris Lee.  It is an example of the high quality, tech-led businesses in the North East that are attracting investment and support from national companies, which will strengthen Nice Networks’ position in the market and provide a springboard for its scale-up ambitions.”