Equistone-backed WHP acquires ICS Group

WHP Telecoms, which is backed by Equistone Partners Europe, has acquired UK-based Intelligent Communications Solutions Limited, a telecoms rigging installations and design company.

WHP Telecoms, which is backed by Equistone Partners Europe, has acquired UK-based Intelligent Communications Solutions Limited, a telecoms rigging installations and design company. No financial terms were disclosed.


27 April 2021
The UK wireless telecommunications services business WHP Telecoms (“WHP”), backed by Equistone Partners Europe (“Equistone”), has completed the acquisition of Intelligent Communications Solutions Limited (“ICS Group”), a telecoms rigging installations and design company, marking the group’s third acquisition in the space of a month.

Following the acquisitions of Redhall Network Solutions in March and Blue Clarity Design Service in April, the addition of ICS to the WHP group represents the latest in a series of transactions reinforcing the company’s strong market position and enhancing its service capabilities. ICS Group provides full design and build services to multinational telecommunications firms.

Since completing the management buyout of WHP in 2018, Equistone has overseen a buy-and-build strategy which has enabled the group to quickly achieve scale in a competitive market. The three bolt-on transactions announced in the last month represent a continuation of an acquisitive growth plan which began with the bolt-on of Sitec, a delivery-focused project management company providing end-to-end solutions for the UK’s mobile and fixed line network operators, in 2019. The group has established a leading role in the sector and is set to maintain its robust growth profile.

In addition to this buy-and-build activity, Equistone has worked closely with an experienced management team to deliver sustained organic growth. This combination of targeted acquisitions and an effective partnership with management has led to revenue more than doubling since Equistone first invested in WHP to over £150m, while the group’s headcount has similarly increased more than twofold. The strong working relationship between Equistone and the management team continues to have a positive impact on the business, which won a number of significant contracts in the past year. The group has also begun to diversify its offering, moving into tower ownership, a key development which will allow WHP to capitalise on the increasing roll-out activity of MNOs (Mobile Network Operators).

Equistone’s strategic and growth-oriented approach to ownership leaves WHP well placed to reinforce its position as a distinguished provider of infrastructure support and deployment services to the UK telecommunications industry.

“The significant organic growth and meaningful acquisitions accomplished by WHP speak to the quality of the group’s management and is reflected in the doubling of revenue since our partnership began,” said Sebastien Leusch, Investment Director at Equistone. “With even greater expansion in its capabilities with this series of acquisitions, WHP can continue to scale and grow its already-prominent footprint in the market.”

“The underlying drivers of communications and connectivity are strong in the UK, where the mobile and fixed line infrastructure lags behind much of Europe, despite the country being one of the region’s largest economies,” said Andi Tomkinson, Partner at Equistone. “WHP is well-positioned to continue serving and advancing the telecommunications industry with its diversified offering and future growth potential.”

About Equistone Partners Europe Limited
Equistone is an independent investment firm wholly-owned and managed by its executives. The company is one of Europe’s leading investors in mid-market buyouts with a strong, consistent track record spanning over 40 years, with more than 400 transactions completed in this period. Equistone has a strong focus on change of ownership deals and aims to invest between €25m and €200m+ of equity in businesses with enterprise values of between €50m and €500m. The company has a team of over 40 investment professionals operating across France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK, investing as a strategic partner alongside management teams. Equistone is currently investing its sixth buyout fund, which held a final closing at its €2.8bn hard cap in March 2018.