Shoosmiths specialist digital infrastructure team has advised Equitix, one of Europe’s leading infrastructure investors, on its £75m investment into Grain Connect Limited (a multi-brand ISP and fibre broadband operator) based in the north-west of England.
Grain Connect is a leading provider of fibre-optic internet access services largely to new-builds as well as existing homes, working with developers in well over 100 locations across the UK. Grain has already begun to roll out full fibre hyper-fast broadband services to a number of towns and cities across the North of England. The investment from Equitix alongside Albion Capital, its existing institutional backer, will create over 200 new jobs and support a further 200 in the wider stakeholder and supply chain and enable Grain Connect to accelerate this roll out programme to serve 300,000 premises across the country.
The deal was led by head of Shoosmiths’ Infrastructure & Energy sector and client partner for Equitix James Wood-Robertson and partner Alastair Peet, while principal associate, Helen Burnell led on the corporate aspects. The digital infrastructure team was expertly supported by a raft of other specialists including partner Anna Robson assisted by Kat Acott, Pav Clair, Gillian Wood, Richard Wilcox, Anika Chandra and Melissa Gray.
This deal is the third and largest digital infrastructure investment Helen Burnell has advised on in as many months, with a combined cumulative transaction value of £150m.
Helen said: We are delighted to have supported Equitix on their first investment into this space and we wish them and the Grain team every success for this exciting next chapter. The smooth completion of this investment closes off a great few months for the team demonstrating the calibre and recognising our strength on acting on the biggest investments in the current market.”
James Wood-Robertson commented: “Digital infrastructure is a key focus area and strength within our sector group and this latest investment further cements our strong credentials in the digital infrastructure space. It has been a real team effort to get this deal over the line and it’s been fantastic to support Equitix on their first investment in the UK fibre market.”
Of the Equitix investment, James said: “This significant long-term equity investment from Equitix will enable Grain to deliver its ambitious plans at pace and continue to grow its footprint across the UK. As a leading investor in core infrastructure, this investment shows the importance and investment value that Equitix attaches to digital connectivity and the status of fibre broadband and digital infrastructure as core infrastructure.”