Clearwater International UK advises WHP Telecoms on its MBO from Palatine

Clearwater International UK has advised telecom infrastructure services provider WHP Telecoms Limited (WHP), on its buyout from Palatine Private Equity (Palatine), supported by private equity firm Equistone Partners Europe (Equistone).

WHP is a leading provider of end-to-end services for the planning, design, acquisition, deployment, upgrade and maintenance of mobile network masts, antennae and base stations for all the major UK mobile operators. Employing over 440 people and headquartered in Warrington, the business operates on a national basis with operations in Leeds, Glasgow, Birmingham and Heathrow.

WHP has grown significantly since Palatine invested in 2015 with turnover increasing from €34m to almost €86m forecast in the current year to May 2018. With a customer base committed to further investment, new enhancements such as 5G and the introduction of new technologies, the company is well placed to continue this growth for the foreseeable future. The much publicised M&A activity in the sector will create more change and present further opportunities for WHP.

Palatine, which backed the company in 2015, will co-invest for a minority stake alongside Equistone and the management team, which continues to be led by Chief Executive Rob Potter.

The Clearwater International team was led by CEO Michael Reeves, with support from Director Michael Loudon and Associate Directors Lachlan Dorrity and Mark Maunsell. Clearwater’s Debt Advisory team arranged debt financing from Permira Debt Managers, led by Partner Mark Taylor, supported by Director Tom Barnwell, and Associate Mark Ward. RBS continue to provide banking facilities to the business.

“WHP is the clear market leader in both scale and breadth of services and has demonstrated strong growth during the past few years. The business is exceptionally well placed for continued organic growth and we will also look at strategic acquisition opportunities over the coming months. We look forward to working with and supporting Rob and the wider team through the next phase of growth.”

Andi Tomkinson, Investment Director, Equistone

“The UK telecoms market is performing strongly, with continued investment in Networks. During this time, we have invested in our highly skilled team and infrastructure in order to deliver excellent quality, efficiency and value to our customers.

“I very much look forward to working with Equistone to further develop our offering – delivering innovation with a focus on high levels of service. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Palatine for the support they have provided so far, and we look forward to continuing our work with them as we take our business to the next chapter.”

Rob Potter, Chief Executive, WHP Telecoms

“It has been a pleasure working with Rob and the management team over the past few years. The business has successfully capitalised on the continued investment in the telecoms sector and is now firmly positioned as a market leading player.”

Andy Lees, Partner, Palatine Private Equity

“WHP has experienced an impressive growth rate and remains well placed for seizing future opportunities within this buoyant market. With the additional support of Equistone, a committed customer base, and WHP’s excellent management team, we look forward to seeing the continued success going forward.”

Michael Reeves, CEO, Clearwater International