The boss of fast-growing telecoms firm Elite Group says a shortage of good businesses is preventing him spending the £24m war chest set aside to acquire other companies.
Entrepreneur Matt Newing wants to double turnover at Chorley-headquartered Elite Group to more than £100m inside three years and thinks most of the growth will come through acquisition.
But Newing told BusinessCloud: “There’s not that many good businesses out there. We look at quite a few and that’s the challenge, there’s nothing that we’ve wanted to buy yet that we haven’t bought.
“What you don’t want to do is buy a product and spend the time developing it and then having to run it out from cold.
“We want to buy businesses that are already doing these things, already got the expertise and knowhow and we can scale those products for them.”
Elite Group’s latest set of accounts saw it grow turnover to £52m for the 12 months to July 2018, with profits of £7.5m profit. It currently employs 180.
Newing wants to double turnover by 2022 and secured a £30 million refinancing deal in October 2018 from Lloyds, with the aim to grow the business through acquisitions.
The founder of the business is on a mission to find ‘scalable and disruptive’ companies, especially IT and hosting businesses along with firms who are dealing with ‘anything mobile that’s got sexy add-ons’.
Elite Group specialises in providing unified communications and cloud IT services. They also have offices in Staffordshire and London.
Elite’s latest acquisition – its 16th since 2008 – was Support Span Group (trading as HighSpan) in January 2018. Support Span Group is a specialist provider of telephony system solutions, with expertise in converged voice and data networks.
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Newing told BusinessCloud that they’d seen up to 15 businesses since the start of this year, but were yet to carry out any purchases.
Speaking about the Elite Group, Newing said: “Our clients have most things with us now. It means we’re the one point contact for everything because we’re controlling their fibre into the building, controlling the firewalls, controlling the IT, so if they’ve got a problem they just ring us.
“Whereas before they might have had to ring BT and a local IT provider, and then whoever was hosting them.
“We are going toe-to-toe with some of the big boys – we’re basically taking on BT and Vodafone.”
The 46-year-old set the business up in 2000 but said he’s not lost any of his enthusiasm and is remains a keen angel investor.
“You still need to kill,” he said. “That’s why we’re doing it, it’s for the buzz and the kill.”