Pulsant grows Scots data centres with Onyx takeover

Data centre operator Pulsant is expanding its footprint in Scotland with the acquisition of rival Onyx.

Onyx chief executive Neil Stephenson, left, shakes hands on the deal with Pulsant boss Mark Howling. Picture: Contributed
Onyx chief executive Neil Stephenson, left, shakes hands on the deal with Pulsant boss Mark Howling. Picture: Contributed

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will create a combined business with revenues of £75 million and almost 400 employees, serving more than 4,000 customers.

Pulsant, backed by Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) and Oak Hill Capital Partners, runs ten data centres across the UK, including two in Edinburgh at Newbridge and South Gyle. They will now be joined by Onyx’s sites at nearby Sighthill and in Glasgow, along with three other locations in northern England.

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Matt Lovell, chief technology officer at Pulsant, told The Scotsman that the company was “always open” to further deal opportunities, pointing to last year’s purchase of the consulting arm of IT recruitment specialist Spinnaker Red.

He said: “We have a project looking at the strategic capabilities of service growth in Scotland, and we’re looking at expansion options right now. ”

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Onyx chief executive Neil Stephenson said: “We have known Pulsant for many years and always felt that combining Onyx and Pulsant would provide a very strong UK-wide player. Both businesses have complementary capabilities and locations, and this acquisition enables the enlarged business to offer a stronger, broader range of services to our joint customers.”

He added: “The cultures of our two organisations are also very similar, which was a big factor in selecting Pulsant as the acquirer.”

Pulsant said the “milestone” deal marks its first major acquisition since SEP and Oak Hill bought it from private equity firm Bridgepoint two years ago. It has also appointed Michael Tobin, the former chief executive of data centre firm Telecity, as its chairman. Previous chair Pieter Knook becomes Tobin’s deputy.

Mark Howling, chief executive of Pulsant, said: “Mike has an excellent reputation in the industry, a broad understanding of the data centre and cloud markets, and experience of growing businesses in the UK and overseas. I am delighted that he has agreed to become our chairman, which is a significant signal of Pulsant’s quality and ambitions.”

He added: “Bringing Onyx and its capabilities into Pulsant is the latest step in our targeted acquisition strategy. The acquisition increases the scale of our business and the breadth of services we can offer, which is crucial as multi-cloud environments become more complex and more important.”