Lancashire-based Daisy has pounced to snap up rival telecoms firm Alternative Networks in a takeover worth £165 million.

Daisy, which went private 18 months ago, will take on almost £20m of debt as part of the deal.

Alternative Networks’ stock market value has halved since peaking at almost 600p in 2014. Its board has approved the takeover offer.

The firm, based in Manchester, employs 600 people.

Chairman James Murray said: "[This will] ensure that the company is best placed to capitalise on future growth opportunities.”

Neil Muller, chief executive of Daisy, said: "This announcement builds upon Daisy's successful acquisition strategy, to enable our customers to take advantage of digital technology in a converging world of business communications and IT."

Daisy, which like Alternative Networks buys up smaller telecoms companies, bought Phoenix IT in similar circumstances last year.

It tends to move the staff from its acquisitions to its base in Nelson, Lancashire.