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Consortium Sniffs Possible Acquisition of Broadway Partners

Wednesday, Sep 13th, 2023 (3:38 pm) - Score 2,320
Broadway-Partners-FTTP-Engineer-Next-to-Van

A new report claims that troubled UK network operator Broadway Partners, which had been building fixed wireless and full fibre (FTTP) broadband ISP networks across rural parts of Scotland and Wales – until they fell into administration, has attracted interest from a consortium involving Tiger Infrastructure Partners and Macquarie.

Broadway (aka – Broadway Broadband) – supported by a major investment of £145 million from London-based sustainable investment manager Downing LLP (here) – was aiming to cover 250,000 premises with its new full fibre network by around 2028. But most of their recent builds have only tackled smaller rural areas (e.g. Isle of Arran, Pembrokeshire, Monmouthshire and Powys).

NOTE: Only around 20% (£29m) of the £145m figure above has so far been invested / drawn. Broadly currently services over 11,000 homes and over 7,500 Ready for Service (RFS) fibre connections, with c.1,000 fibre customers and c.1,000 wireless customers.

However, alternative network providers across the market have recently been feeling a lot of strain, particularly from rising costs / inflation (build, leases etc.), aggressive competition from rivals (e.g. overbuild) and the related need to secure a viable level of take-up by consumers. Due to this, some operators have suffered redundancies and a slow-down of their network builds.

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The same seemed to become true of Broadway too after they announced, in May 2023, the appointment of Teneo Financial Advisory as their administrator (here). “Despite having successfully connected a range of outlying communities to its network, BPL struggled in the face of adverse market conditions. This resulted in a slow-down in their ability to build new connections and secure the customer base needed to satisfy the milestones and continue to drawdown on its debt facilities,” said the administrators report (here). Some 72 staff were also made redundant immediately upon the administration.

The administrator’s report also revealed that an unspecified number of bids had been received for Broadway, with a target completion date of 31st July 2023. But the latest update comes from Sky News, which reports that a consortium, comprising Tiger Infrastructure Partners and Macquarie, may be close to acquiring the operator. Supposedly, industry sources suggest a deal could be struck as soon as this week.

Both investors are familiar names in this market. For example, Tiger backs network provider SWS Broadband (Rural Broadband Solutions Plc) in rural parts of Shropshire (England) and Wales, while Macquaria backs operators like KCOM in East Yorkshire and Voneus across other parts of England.

Sky suggests that the acquisition of Broadway is expected to be structured as a takeover by Voneus, with the 40 remaining jobs at Broadway being saved. This would make sense as Voneus focuses on many of the same sort of areas and would be well positioned to take on Broadway’s existing projects. But it will be interesting to see how much money changes hands for the network, assuming they share that information with the public.

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As a side note. Sky asserts that Broadway is the “first ‘altnet’ fibre broadband infrastructure provider to collapse into insolvency“, which isn’t entirely correct as there have been a few troubled operators over the past few years (e.g. People’s Fibre, Fibre GarDen etc.) and that’s when only looking at FTTP providers.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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1 Response
  1. Avatar photo Bernie Ecclestone says:

    If anyone ķnows who that engineer is that is on all their stories, I have a single daughter who thinks he looks cute.

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