UC giant GCI sets sights on B2B mobile domination

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One the UK’s fastest-growing companies clinches 19th acquisition in 11 years – Commsxchange joint managing directors to spearhead assault on mobile

Fixed line and IT reseller GCI has acquired leading Vodafone partner Commsxchange as it sets out ambitious plans to take the B2B mobile market by storm.

The Lincolnshire-based firm – one of the fastest growing companies in the UK with more than 6,000 customers and a £55 million turnover – completed the “multi-million” pound deal late last month.

It is the 19th acquisition by GCI since its formation in 2000, with its first move into mobile adding 12,000 Vodafone connections and £2.5 million to its annual revenues.

GCI claims to have fought off interest from eight other companies, which include two unnamed Platinum Partners, in securing the deal, which was brokered by Knight Corporate Finance.

GCI chief executive Wayne Martin claims his company was the preferred buyer as a result of its cross-selling opportunities, and he is already eyeing-up other partners as part of “aggressive” growth plans to “dominate” B2B mobile.

“For us it wasn’t about buying the biggest base that was available, it was about buying a quality organisation that really understood the unified communications space,” he said. The acquisition of Commsxchange will springboard GCI into the Vodafone mobile channel at the highest possible level.”

Commsxchange former owners and managing directors Ross Cooper and David Bennett have been appointed to head its new mobility division. Both will stay for a minimum of 12 months as part of the agreement.

All 15 Commsxchange staff will become employees of GCI, nudging the parent company’s total workforce towards 250. The current Commsxchange head office will remain open, with no current plans to rebrand.

Growth ambitions

Discussing the deal, Cooper and Bennett told Mobile News neither had planned on selling the business, although they were open to merging with other organisations to fulfil their growth ambitions.

“We’d made our intentions clear. If there was an opportunity to come together with another organisation that does not do mobile but does offer other associated services, we would be interested because of the growth element,” said Cooper.

“We’ve built the business to a level where we are a big competitor in the Vodafone channel market but the opportunity that a company like GCI brings is a completely untapped market for mobile.”

Bennett added: “The size of their portfolio, the quality of their clients and the opportunity it gives us to grow and develop is fantastic.”

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