Firstnet and Select Data Centres to become Firstnet Group

Leeds-based IT company Firstnet has merged with Select Data Centres in Manchester, creating a new business under the name of Firstnet Group. The deal combines Select’s expertise in data centre design and construction with Firstnet’s reputation for managed IT, cloud, system co-location and workplace recovery services.

Sharp Electronics Europe buys office equipment reseller Midshire

Sharp Electronics Europe has acquired Midshire Business Systems and Midshire Business Systems (Northern).  Midshire is a office technology reseller with offices in Birmingham, Cardiff and Stockport. It will be operated as part of Sharp Business Solutions UK (SBSUK), retaining its brand name, existing management and structures.

Bareface targets America and China with Invisible Artists acquisition

Birmingham-based advertising agency Bareface has acquired Invisible Artists, a global content production studio based in Sydney. With this deal Bareface aims to expand beyond its current Birmingham, London and New York offices into APAC and the west coast of America, where IA has projects ongoing with Facebook and Nielsen.

Coretronic buys Bradford-based electronics display company Calibre

Taiwanese AV specialist Coretronic Corporation has acquired high-end image scaling and processing technology company Calibre. Based in Bradford, Calibre employs 30 people and will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coretronic. Coretronic is a supplier to the majority of the world’s Tier 1 DLP projector brands. The acquisition allows it to enter the rapidly expanding direct-view LED display markets, as well as further advancing in the proAV markets.

Connection Capital backs JCRA Group MBO

JCRA Group, a provider of hedging, financial risk and debt consultancy services, has completed a £13.6m MBO with backing from clients of Connection Capital. The company has secured £6.7m of investment which it plans to put towards maximising synergies, technological improvements and continued expansion in its existing areas of operation. Globally, JCRA is the second largest advisory firm in ‘Over the Counter’ (OTC) derivatives. The company sees potential for growth following several misselling scandals and a subsequent increase in regulation that has seen banks mostly retreat from the market.

Arrow Global plans entry into Irish market

Arrow Global has announced a proposed acquisition of Mars Capital’s UK & Irish mortgage servicing businesses, as well as a strategic partnership with Oaktree Capital Management. Mars Capital services over 10,000 customer accounts and has £1.6bn of assets under management. The £15.5m acquisition would rebalance Arrow Global’s portfolio towards capital-light asset management revenues as well as enabling its entry into the Irish market. Arrow Global’s partnership agreement with Oaktree meanwhile means the companies will acquire future UK and Irish residential mortgage portfolios together.

Smurfit Kappa expands in Russia with Soyuz deal

Smurfit Kappa has strengthened its operations in Russia with the acquisition of corrugated packaging company Soyuz. Based in Moscow, Soyuz employs 300 people and caters to a range of European markets with its paper and Bag-in-Box products.

Park Place Technologies acquires NCE Group

Park Place Technologies has made its largest acquisition ever with the takeover of NCE Group, a global provider of third-party data centre maintenance and repair. The acquisition further boosts Park Place’s global client portfolio and European presence, following its recent acquisition of Prestige Data Centre Solutions in May. Headquartered in Wiltshire and with a major office in the US, NCE Group is a prominent player in the third-party maintenance and post-warranty enterprise hardware industry. The company will immediately begin integrating operations, channel partners, customers and its 280 employees with Park Place.

Canada Life takes over Retirement Advantage

Canada Life Group has strengthened its UK presence with the acquisition of Retirement Advantage. Retirement Advantage has over 30,000 pension and equity release customers, and more than £2bn assets under management. The deal takes the number of annuity providers in the UK open market to just six.