News

Magnet buys Imagine’s retail business unit in all-cash deal

Irish Times • March 5, 2016

Irish telco Magnet has acquired the Irish retail business division of Imagine Communications in an all-cash transaction. The deal will see Magnet become the third largest provider of business telecoms in Ireland, effectively doubling its customer numbers to 11,000 SMEs and corporates.

This will give it a market share of about 9 per cent, placing it behind Eir and Vodafone. The company was advised by Key Capital Corporate Finance on the transaction.

Magnet will now employ 95 people, including the 17 staff (mostly sales) from the acquired business, with plans to hire additional workers in the coming months. Debt funding for the deal was provided by investment group Blue Bay.

Imagine’s decision to sell its retail business division is part of a strategic shift to focus on the national rollout of its 4G Long-Term Evolution network, which will bring high-speed broadband services to businesses and consumers in rural Ireland.

Established in 2004, Magnet and its parent Columbia Ventures Corporation have invested more than €120 million in developing an advanced telecoms network. Its customers include ESB, Adobe, Lidl, Fáilte Ireland and Centra. The company is also operating in the UK market and has a contract to provide services to online retail giant Amazon at various locations across Europe.

High-speed broadband

Magnet offers a range of broadband, voice and cloud telephony solutions along with hosting and domain services. It has headquarters in Dublin with offices in Galway, London and Pune in India.

Since the economy crashed in 2008, Magnet has pulled back from the residential market. It has stopped offering TV services and now just provides contract-free, high-speed broadband to about 8,000 residential customers.

Magnet chief executive Mark Kellett said the acquisition marked a “step-change” for the company.

“Our strategy is to provide a credible choice to businesses of all sizes across Ireland based on the quality of our network and range of services, which we believe are the best in the country. We are delighted to welcome our new customers and staff to Magnet,” he said.

Previous acquisitions

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Kellett said the deal would double the company’s revenues with a “sizable proportion flowing through to Ebitda and cash. I see a bright future for the company but a more focused one.”

Magnet has made a number of previous acquisitions. In 2005, it bought wireless broadband provider Leap and later added internet services provider Netsource to complement its business division. Three years later it bought Irish VoIP provider Glantel, while in 2012 it acquired a 90 per cent share of Velocity 1 as it expanded into the UK.

Imagine Group chief executive Sean Bolger said: “With the industry shift to next generation infrastructure driven by the need and demand for high-speed broadband and IP services, the strategic opportunity and focus of Imagine and its investors is to extend the reach and deliver fibre-based NGA services to regional and rural communities across Ireland.”

Huawei exec says security concerns easing with US gov’t

Android Headlines • January 8, 2016

The United States government and Huawei have not seen eye-to-eye for many years, but at CES, a top Huawei executive said he believes the company’s prospects of forging a working relationship with the US could be in the works thanks to several factors. Back in 2012, a US government report specifically included Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE as security threats. The reports cited that equipment from either of these companies could be used as a backdoor for Chinese espionage. Huawei vehemently denied the accusations, but they have, for the most part, been locked out of contracts with US telecom operators.

huawei-logo-2016-ah-1600x1067

The US allegations have not stopped other countries around the world from using Huawei for their infrastructure equipment needs. Major wireless companies in Europe, Latin America and even Canada are customers of Huawei equipment. Huawei and Ericsson remain the leading world suppliers of telecommunications networking gear despite the US government’s report. Huawei’s William Plummer, VP of the company’s external affairs for the US market says that changing views on network security and market consolidation are “eclipsing geographical, border-based solutions…[and] there’s [now] a much clearer understanding of how networks work.” Hacking by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, continued hacks by others and network security issues have taken the focus away from China and Huawei equipment suppliers and refocused it on how to make networks more secure from hackers – not the equipment that runs the network.

Plummer pointed out that recent sales of network infrastructures in Oregon and Washington state shows some progress in the US. This past fall, PocketiNet Communications chose Huawei for their Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) in Walla Walla in Washington State. In May, Eastern Oregon Telecom hooked up with Huawei to bring gigabit broadband to rural customers in Hermiston, Oregon. Plummer said, “We’re focused on those areas that are underserved or unconnected.” He also gives credit to the merger between Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson and Cisco helping to create more opportunities for Huawei. The competition that is going on between the US carriers, especially Verizon and AT&T, are forcing them to look for more competitive pricing and the best products on the market and this could very well point them toward Huawei. The Huawei name also got a huge boost in 2015 when Google chose them to build the popular Nexus 6P smartphone – as consumers get more comfortable with the Huawei name, companies may also turn to them for more equipment needs.

Magnet opens new west of Ireland hub in Galway

Irish Tech News • January 7, 2016

Irish telecoms provider, Magnet, today announced the opening of a new office in Galway to serve businesses across Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.

Designated as the Magnet’s West of Ireland hub, the office will provide a sales function as well as local account management to companies in the region for Magnet’s full suite of telecoms solutions. These include broadband speeds of up to 350Mb, as well as a range of unique cloud telecom solutions.

Strong Remote Working Culture

The inaugural Magnet Regional Business Barometer*, a study of 600 SMEs in Ireland conducted by Amárach Research last year, revealed the West to have the highest concentration of remote workers. 24% stated they regularly worked from home and 25% on the road. However, take-up of services beneficial to remote working was the lowest when compared to other regions, with only 1% of businesses availing of VoIP, or internet phone, solutions.

Heading up the operation is former head of SME sales for Magnet in Dublin, Phil Clapperton. Speaking at the launch in his new role as Regional Sales Director he said: “The new Galway office is being set up at an ideal time with lots of ambitious local developments underway, from the establishment of the Galway City Innovation District to the redevelopment of the docks area.”

phil-clapperton_magnet

Magnet’s Regional Sales Director Philip Clapperton leads
the opening of New West of Ireland hub in Galway

Clapperton continues: “As a telecoms company with a strong business focus, we want to be in a position to better serve businesses in Galway and surrounding counties with local account management that can efficiently respond to their needs. Furthermore, with such an active remote and mobile working culture, we feel there’s an excellent opportunity to educate businesses about the benefits of cloud services and what Magnet can deliver in that respect.”

Some of Magnet’s existing customers in the region include Macnas, The G Hotel, SmartBay, Merrill Brink and PNO.

Information Evening: VoIP and Hosted PBX

Magnet will host a free information evening in the Galway Technology Centre on January 14th, which will look at how companies can transition to and benefit from VoIP and hosted PBX solutions. The event kicks off at 5.30pm and companies who sign up to Magnet Voice can avail of an offer of 6 months free broadband. Full details and registration can be found here.

Media Contact
Bernice, Bvisible, 087 2337366, 01-8452401

Editor’s Notes
Full details of the 2015 Amárach study can be found here.

About Magnet
Established in 2004, Magnet provides broadband, telephony, VoIP, Wi-Fi, hosting and other cloud solutions to both businesses and consumers. Headquartered in Clonshaugh in Dublin, with a new regional office in Galway, Magnet became the first internet service provider to offer a 1Gb internet service through Fibre To The Home (FTTH).

Magnet was also the first telecoms provider in Ireland to launch a cloud telephony solution that allows users to take and make landline calls on regular handsets, PCs, an online portal and a mobile app.

Through its parent company, CVC, it has invested significantly in fibre connectivity to and in Ireland with transatlantic submarine fibre cables and FTTH rollout. Magnet’s London subsidiary, Velocity1, provides broadband to Wembley and Greater West London enabling a smart city initiative. With Aertv, Magnet has also pioneered online TV in Ireland.

For more, visit magnet.ie.