UKFast CEO Jones Acquires Public Sector Specialist

Article date: Mon, 06 Feb 2017 09:36 GMT

UKFast acquires S-IA

UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones MBE today announces the acquisition of another cloud and cybersecurity service provider, Secure Information Assurance (S-IA), following the announcement of a £2.3 million investment to bolster his firm’s government data centre space.

S-IA provides secure cloud hosting and cybersecurity services to the UK Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office and a raft of other UK government organisations.

The deal gives UKFast access to IL3 and IL4/Official-Sensitive accreditations as well as the UK’s highest security rated hosting, known as List-X. The move is a further step towards the high-level security services market, just six months after the acquisition of cybersecurity specialists Pentest Limited by Jones’ security business Secarma in July 2016.

Jones said: “This deal has been exactly a year in the making. Acquiring S-IA is a strategic move, not only because of its high-profile government clients, but also because of its security product set. They are already delivering accredited services from List-X facilities to a number of clients.

“It’s a business that’s very much on the rise and the deal was an extremely competitive process, but the S-IA management team sees the clear advantage of partnering with UKFast, seeing the instant scalability of our eCloud platform as the perfect offering for the government.

“We’re bolting on a new level of expertise and technical capability to UKFast’s existing product range, and combined with our exclusively UK-based data centres and best of British service, it’s an offering that other large providers dealing with the public sector simply can’t match.”   

Established in 2003, S-IA is focussed exclusively on government and public sector services, bringing 14 years’ experience of managing process and procedure for the highest level of government to UKFast. 

S-IA CEO Martin Knapp is set to head up Jones’ G-Cloud team as part of the move, targeting a share of the £1.69bn currently spent through the government procurement framework.

Knapp said: “This is a hugely exciting move for all of us at S-IA. The conversation started when we went to UKFast to look at their data centre facilities. We initially planned to host our cloud with UKFast, but we were so impressed that we started a conversation about becoming partners and that quickly became a conversation about Lawrence buying the business.

“There are so many technical synergies between us and UKFast; at the hardware level, the software level and at the service level too. Their technical capabilities and infrastructure are like none I’ve seen elsewhere.

Wholly owned, UK-based data centres are such an important factor for the sector we’re dealing with.”

UKFast co-founder and commercial director Gail Jones and director of mergers and acquisitions Catherine Houghton oversaw the deal.

Gail Jones said: “The moment I looked at this business I knew it was perfect for us. We’ve looked at 15 potential deals in the last year and this one was really head and shoulders above the rest. It was further reinforced when we spoke with the cabinet office, who gave S-IA a glowing report.”

Houghton said: “This is an exciting step change for the UKFast group, allowing us to provide a full range of hosting services at the higher IL3/Official-Sensitive standard. With an estimated 30% of all cloud spend coming from the public sector this opens up a massive market opportunity for us and is an area we expect to see rapid growth in.”

S-IA has hosted services for the UK Cabinet Office since 2003 and is a long-standing, trusted partner of the Ministry of Defence.

Lawrence Jones continued: “As a British businessman, hosting for the government is the biggest honour I could ever imagine. When we set up UKFast 17 years ago I could only dream of being in a situation like this.

“Britain needs world-class businesses looking after its critical infrastructure, especially during times of uncertainty. We’re completely focussed on building a stronger, more secure Britain.”

Sarah Walton, Corporate Partner at Weightmans LLP and advisor to the sellers said: “We are delighted to have worked on a deal which secured a great result for both companies, their customers and staff. UKFast is an innovative and ambitious company and S-IA has an exciting future ahead.”

Financial due diligence was carried out by Nicola Merritt at Dow Schofield Watts and Legal due diligence by Nabarro, with UKFast legal team leading on the deal documents.

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