Dot com rivals together after RBS’s £26m sell-off

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TWO of the best-known names from Scotland’s dot com boom will be brought together today when Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) unveils the sale of its data centre business, Scolocate, to rival Pulsant, which emerged from internet service provider Ednet, for £26 million.

Sir George Mathewson, then RBS’s chief executive, launched Scolocate in 1999, hailing the company as “one of the most-important developments in 
e-commerce in Scotland”.

The company operates Scotland’s largest commercial data centre – a site storing clients’ computer programs, data and websites on servers – at South Gyle in Edinburgh.

RBS held 49 per cent of the company’s shares when it was founded but carried out a £7m debt-for-equity swap in 2002 after the firm had struggled following the bursting of the dot com bubble.

RBS’s stake is understood to have increased to more than 80 per cent, with current and former managers holding the rest of the stock.

All of Scolocate’s 25 staff will join Pulsant’s 150-strong team. Pulsant was formed following the takeover of Edinburgh-based Lumison – which had changed its name from Ednet in 2004 – by BridgePoint Development Capital in September 2010.

Ednet founder Aydin Kurt-
Elli, who launched his company in 1995 while he was a medical student at Edinburgh University, stayed with the new business as chief operating officer and owns a stake in the enlarged firm.

Pulsant ramped up its growth plans after more financial backing from BridgePoint, which also owns fashion chain Fat Face, Leeds Bradford airport and sandwich retailer Pret A Manger.

Buying Scolocate will push Pulsant’s revenues through the £40m-mark this year and will give it ten sites, making it the UK’s largest privately-owned data centre operator.