New direction for Excalibur Communications following management buy-out

May 22, 2018
By

Swindon-based telecoms and IT group Excalibur Communications – one of the town’s fastest-growing companies for many years – has been acquired by its management. 

The management buy-out (MBO) team, led by CEO Peter Boucher and supported with funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial, will take a majority stake in the firm. 

 

Former owner and CEO James Phipps, pictured below, the architect of the firm’s expansion over recent years, retains a minority shareholding.

 

Widely viewed as laying a solid foundation for growth at Excalibur – having taken it from a mobile reseller to fully-fledged managed services supplier – he will stay involved with the company as executive chairman – a role he took on just over a year ago when Mr Boucher became CEO.  

 

The company has investment heavily in systems and products to support very high levels of customer service over recent years. In setting the business apart from its competitors, Mr Phipps also made unprecedented commitments to staff development and local community projects,

 

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed although Santander described its funding as ‘significant’.

 

The management team said its aim was to take full ownership of the business within five years and to increase investments and acquisitions in new technology.

 

Excaliburs provides managed IT and telecoms services to more than 4,000 SMEs in the South and South West. The firm, which was originally launched in 1992 as the Mobile Phone Centre, benefits from a strong relationship with Vodafone and is one of its top five distribution channel partners in the UK. 

 

It recently marked its first year under CEO Peter Boucher, who previously spent three years on the Excalibur board as a non-executive director. During the year it has achieved a record volume of activity, meeting its expansion plan objectives by delivering organic growth and the integration and acquisition of Newbury-based IT consultancy Ntegra IT Support Services.

 

It also strengthened its management team with the appointment of Richard Evans as finance director from Bristol-based international education services supplier Tribal Group last September. 

Peter Boucher, pictured right, who previously worked for Vodafone, said: “We see this backing by Santander as an endorsement of our ambition to scale up the business. We have achieved our targets for the first year through sustainable growth and productivity gains. The funding from Santander, alongside a team of motivated employees and strong senior management, place us in a strong position to build and grow Excalibur in the long term.” 

 

Excalibur has almost doubled in size over the past eight years, moving to Swindon’s showpiece Arclite House, becoming a Sunday Times Top 100 Company and a Vodafone Total Communications Partner, as well as maintaining its position as a Microsoft Gold Partner.

 

In 20016 it acquired specialist Chippenham-based IT firm Devision – another business with a very good reputation for customer service – and previously took over IT businesses Bridge Solutions and Emnico Enterprises in 2010. 

 

The MBO was worked on by Santander relationship director Chris Mears with director of growth capital Martyn Drake.

 

Chris said: “Excalibur is an exceptional business with a relentless focus on customer care and a wonderful culture. We have been impressed by the quality of the management team and the plans in place to achieve their growth ambitions and have been delighted to support the management team in the execution of this MBO.”

 

Swindon-headquartered regional law firm Thrings Solicitors advised James Phipps while Hampshire-based Moore Blatch acted on behalf of the management team.

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