Advised The Cloud, Europe’s leading independent WiFi operator, on its sale to BSkyB
Jan 2011
acquired by
  • Sector: Communication & Internet Infrastructure
  • Deal Type: Strategic Deals; Venture Capital Exits
  • Engagement type: Sellside
  • Size: <$200m

Arma Partners is pleased to announce that it has acted as exclusive financial advisor to The Cloud Networks Limited (“The Cloud”) on the sale of The Cloud to BSkyB (“Sky”) for less than £50m.

The Cloud is Europe’s leading independent public WiFi operator, with a market-leading managed and hospitality services platform in the UK and Germany including venues such as Pret A Manger, McDonalds and Wetherspoons. Sky is in a strong position to leverage The Cloud through accelerated expansion of the public WiFi footprint and by extending The Cloud’s offering to Sky’s existing customers, enabling high-speed broadband access outside the home.

Public WiFi technology is gaining in strategic importance due the explosion in demand for high performance uncongested broadband data access outside the home and office. The sale of The Cloud demonstrates Arma’s focus on developments in converging services and mobile broadband. It is also a further milestone in the development of Arma Partners’ Global Communications practice, building on previous transactions involving key industry players including Easynet, BSkyB, freenet, Strato, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and United Internet, and again demonstrates Arma Partners’ ability to provide market-leading, seamless advice on transactions which span the Technology, Media & Telecommunications (“TMT”) spectrum.

Closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

– Formed in 2003, The Cloud Networks is Europe’s leading independent public access Wifi operator

– The Company offers managed services on customer premises, hospitality services and airtime as well as resale / wholesale which allows MNOs and fixed line service providers to bundle WiFi access with services

– Formed in 1990 British Sky Broadcasting Group, provides pay television communication services in the United Kingdom and Ireland

– It is the largest pay-TV broadcaster in the United Kingdom with over 10 million subscribers

– Offers in-house and third parties’ channels to direct-to-home (DTH) customers

– Offers broadband and voice communications

– Sky will be able to substantially accelerate deployment of The Cloud Wifi footprint

– The Cloud will enhance Sky’s strategic positioning relative to the mobile operators and other broadband providers given the importance of WiFi in alleviating 3G bandwidth constraints

– The acquisition will allow Sky to provide a mobile access offering in addition to home broadband, telephone and TV packages

– Arma Partners was engaged by The Cloud’s shareholders to evaluate the company’s strategic options

– Arma Partners extensively pre-marketed the deal with selected strategic buyers to ensure maximum preparedness when the process was launched

– Arma approached all the key buyers in the market creating competitive tension for its client

– Arma Partners’ relationships with potential buyers were important in the successful execution of the transaction

– The sale of The Cloud demonstrates Arma’s depth of coverage within converging services and mobile broadband