Telecoms group Daisy to dial up bidders in £1.5bn auction

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A sale of Daisy Group will kick off next year and propel Matthew Riley into the ranks of Britain’s super-rich, Sky News learns.

Daisy was founded in 2001 by Matt Riley

The telecoms and IT services provider Daisy is drawing up plans for a £1.5bn auction that is expected to catapult its founder into the ranks of Britain’s wealthiest entrepreneurs.

Sky News has learnt that Daisy Group, which was set up by Matthew Riley in 2001, is to appoint investment bankers in the next few weeks to handle a sale process that will kick off during the first half of 2018.

Insiders said on Wednesday that the company was likely to explore interest from financial investors as well as international telecoms and IT firms which were keen to acquire a prominent player in the UK market.

The likes of Vodafone and Liberty Global have been mooted as potential bidders for Daisy in the past.

Daisy, which was taken private from London’s junior stock market in 2014, has no plans to explore another public flotation, according to City sources.

Mr Riley already ranks among Britain’s most successful telecoms executives, having led a £495m management buyout of the company with the backing of Toscafund and Penta Capital, two big investors.

He is thought to own roughly half the company, making him worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Daisy’s founder, who counted the billionaire former owner of BHS, Sir Philip Green, among his mentors, has built the company through a string of acquisitions, including the £165m takeover of Alternative Networks nearly a year ago.

He left school at the age of 16 and began working life by fixing fax machines, before going on to establish a recruitment business.

Lancashire-based Daisy manages mobile, cloud and other services for business customers, and describes itself as the UK’s largest independent provider in the sector.

It now has 60,000 direct customers, including half of Britain’s high street retailers, and employs 4,000 people.

One insider said that Daisy was projected to make earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of about £150m in the year to March 2019.

The company’s peer group tends to trade off multiples of roughly 11 times EBITDA, meaning that a sale could value Daisy at more than £1.5bn.

Daisy could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

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