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Claranet acquires Star in a deal valued at £55 million

This acquisition creates Europe's largest mid-tier provider of integrated hosting and network services

Claranet, one of Europe's leading managed service providers, has acquired Star, a UK provider of managed technology services. The acquisition creates the largest mid-market provider of integrated hosting and network services in the UK and continental Europe.

Claranet is acquiring STH Limited and its subsidiary, Star Technology Services Limited, in a deal valued at £55 million. The trading entities will be maintained and will become wholly owned by Claranet Limited.

Charles Nasser, CEO and Founder of the Claranet Group, stated: "From a market and customer perspective, this is a great opportunity to bring together the experience and resources of two great companies to deliver a broader service portfolio to benefit our customers. It's our mission to help our customers make the most of internet-enabled technology, and the acquisition of Star will enable us to continue to deliver on this promise.

"This announcement confirms our ambition to become the clear European leader in the delivery of managed services," he added. "This is nothing short of a British entrepreneurial success story, as both companies were founded here in the UK."

Operating under the Claranet brand, the expanded company will have revenues of over £120 million, circa 700 staff, over 4,500 customers, and operations in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. Claranet's customers will include Airbus, Amnesty International, Care UK, Channel 5, Veolia, Signet, CSH, IRIS, De Vere Hotels and Richmond Events.

The new business will have a service portfolio ranging from the data centre to the desktop. In addition to managed hosting and network services which both companies provide to many customers, Star customers will be able to take advantage of Claranet's pan-European, award-winning Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering, Virtual Data Centre, as well as advanced managed application hosting services. Meanwhile, Star's strength in Unified Communications, remote desktop and advanced security services will complement Claranet's existing portfolio.

In addition, Star's customers will be able to take advantage of Claranet's European operations and benefit from the knowledge that the enlarged company is on a strong financial footing, with far greater purchasing power in the market.

Michel Robert, MD of Claranet UK, added: "Star is a leader in providing managed services in the UK and therefore a natural fit for Claranet. Star has developed a strong base of customers, has a well-defined service portfolio as well as a talented and dedicated team,"

"It is this very success that makes Star such a logical fit for Claranet and, as part of our continued investment in evolving our services, is one that will directly benefit our customers," he added.

Ben White, co-founder of Star and a partner at the Cloud-focused venture investor Notion Capital, added: "The cultural and strategic compatibility of the two businesses is second to none and I am confident that the enlarged group will go on to even greater things, creating significant opportunities for customers, partners and staff."

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Ares Capital Europe and a minority investment by Abry Partners financed the acquisition.

Advisors on the transaction are Oakley Capital, acting for Claranet, and Ernst & Young, acting for Star.

- ENDS -


About Claranet
Founded in 1996, Claranet has evolved from being a pioneering ISP (Internet Service Provider) into an MSP (Managed Services Provider) with annual revenues of £70 million. Claranet has more than 500 employees, an international footprint in six countries and although Claranet has grown internationally, the focus has always been on local service, out of local offices, using local data centres.

As a result of this transaction, Claranet will have revenues of £120 million, circa 700 staff, and over 4,500 customers.

Claranet brings together the best people, process and technology to provide flexible, secure and cost-effective managed services that guarantee network and application performance. We allow customers to focus on their core business, not IT management.

About Star
Star is a managed services company, providing cloud-computing services specially tailored to the needs of medium-sized businesses. Star's people are positively different, with vision, knowledge and passion that deliver extraordinary results. Since its foundation in 1995, the Star name has been synonymous with innovation. Having pioneered cloud-based Internet security with the formation of MessageLabs, the company has continued to consolidate its status as a leading cloud services expert, making technology a strategic consideration for business leaders.

Star collaborates with leading industry vendors and fosters long-term relationships with customers, which results in transformational options that drive customer value and growth. Star's mission is to help medium sized businesses in the UK realise their ambitions by redefining how they view their technology needs and prepare for a successful future. With 250 employees based from regional offices, Star's people are directly in touch with the customers they serve and continually look to improve the quality of the customer experience.

About Abry
Founded in 1989, ABRY is one of the most experienced media, communications, and information & business services sector-focused private equity investment firms. ABRY has completed over $36 billion of transactions and is based in Boston, MA. The firm is currently managing over $3.5 billion of total capital and investing out of a $1.6 billion private equity fund, $750 million senior equity fund and a $1.2 billion senior debt fund. ABRY has extensive data center and managed services investing experience through several current and past investments.

About Ares
Established in 2007, Ares Capital Europe is a leading European direct lending institution that has completed c.45 transactions and invested c. €1.4 billion since inception. With offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Stockholm, Ares Capital Europe provides "one-stop" financing solutions with the ability to invest in senior debt, unitranche and mezzanine debt.

About Oakley Capital
Oakley Capital Corporate Finance ("Oakley") is a mid-market corporate finance business which provides advice to quoted and private companies. Oakley is particularly active in the telecoms and hosting M&A market, where Oakley has close contacts with many of the key service providers. Oakley also offers Corporate Broking advice to UK listed businesses on a retained basis. Oakley has advised on over 40 transactions since late 2007.

FOR PRESS ENQUIRIES, please contact:
Richard Merrin
Spreckley Partners Ltd.
T: +44 (0)20 7388 9988
E: [email protected]

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