Olive adds 45,000 connections with Wish Comms acquisition

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The acquisition is Olive’s ninth in two years and takes its base above 110,000 connections

Vodafone platinum and O2 Centre of Excellence partner Olive Communications has acquired one of its biggest competitors, Wish Communications, for an undisclosed fee.

The “strategic acquisition” was signed last week and is Olive’s ninth in two years (see profile on page 24 for full list).

The deal sees Olive add 45,000 connections, mostly to Vodafone, taking its base above 110,000 and giving it 6,000 customers in all.

Combined turnover is expected to reach between £25 million and £30 million by 2014.

Olive CEO Martin Flick (pictured, right) said several “platinum partners” had been “explored”, but he described Wish as a “perfect match” based on a shared ethos with regard to customer service, high-quality business and ARPU, as well as Wish’s low churn.

“This is the biggest acquisition Olive has done to date, and effectively doubles the size of the organisation overnight,” he said. “Combining the two businesses, we create huge benefit for our customers, suppliers and staff.

“This now makes us one of Vodafone’s largest and most strategic partners and affords us the capability to take full advantage of the growing Vodafone portfolio and their vision in providing truly converged network solutions.”

Rebrand/staff

Flick confirmed the Wish brand is “likely” to be dropped once the integration process has been completed, although he said he is “open-minded” about this.

News of the acquisition, which took two months to complete, was being announced to both sets of staff as Mobile News went to press. All 70 Wish staff will be retained, with no redundancies expected, taking total Olive staff numbers above 150.

Wish MD Mike Hallam (pictured, left) and operations director Simon Pickering, who co-founded the firm in 2006, have also been retained as part of the acquisition, and have taken shares in Olive.

Hallam’s title has now changed to Olive group chief operating officer, while Pickering becomes Olive group professional services director. Both will report to Flick.

Hallam described the deal as an “exciting one” and praised Wish staff for their efforts in establishing the company as one of the top Vodafone platinum partners in the country.

He said: “The skills they have developed were much sought after, and Olive’s appetite to acquire our business bears that out.The career opportunities and development potential for staff is enormous, and the business plan for the future is very compelling.”

Head of Vodafone Partner Services Rob Mukherjee added: “As we continue to strengthen our position in the total communications market our hope is that partners develop their own capability in line with our plans and in making this acquisition Olive are demonstrating their commitment to our long- term strategy.”

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