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Private Equity Expert to Drive Acquisitions at Hosting Firm

Article date: Mon, 01 Jul 2013 09:26 GMT

Catherine Houghton

Hosting and colocation firm UKFast has set out on the acquisition trail with the appointment of mergers and acquisitions director, Catherine Houghton.

Private equity and business strategy specialist Houghton joins the Manchester-based firm as it announces it is to hit the acquisition trail for the first time.

Having spent more than 15 years in the mergers and acquisitions industry, Houghton has worked for M&A heavyweights including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the UK's largest mid-market private equity house, Lloyds Development Capital (LDC).

Before joining UKFast Houghton was commercial director at kidsunlimited where she led the £45million sale to US public company, Bright Horizons.

Houghton said: "My remit at UKFast is to build upon the strong growth that the firm is already achieving. The business has invested over £26m recently in three new data centres, a state-of-the-art new campus facility and the launch of its ground-breaking eCloud product and is on the verge of reaping the benefits of that investment.

"Having grown to over £10m EBITDA organically, UKFast now has both the people and financial resources to make some sizeable acquisitions.

"In just a few days of being on board, I've seen just how big the opportunities are here. UKFast is an extraordinary business and I am incredibly excited about taking it to the next level."

Lawrence Jones, CEO of UKFast said: "We have done a great job growing over the past 14 years and over that time we have created products that have shaped the way that people do business on the internet. While that is growing well, it makes sense to look into other areas where we can help more people online and one of the best ways is by acquiring businesses.

"We have seen companies in the past that we would have loved to acquire but they were snapped up by competitors. Now we have Catherine who will be dedicated to looking into acquiring firms like these and she has the very particular skillset and experience that is needed for this job.

"If you want to do anything in life incredibly well, it needs focus and full-time commitment. Acquisitions are going to be such an important part of what we do, we need Catherine on board with us as a part of the UKFast family.

"I've been looking to take someone on in this capacity for a couple of years but we've had to make sure they can fit into the UKFast culture. It's extremely positive to see within days of her joining the positive impact that Catherine has had on the team."

UKFast announced that it is to hit the acquisition trail last week. Jones says he and Houghton are 'very close' to finalising UKFast's first acquisition.

The firm also launched its giant-rivalling elastic cloud solution eCloud this month which brings a level of technology to the UK only previously seen with US cloud firms like Rackspace and Amazon.

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