Broadband provider Quickline Communications Limited and Northleaf Capital Partners a Toronto-headquartered global private markets investment firm, today announced that funds managed by Northleaf have completed the acquisition of a majority share in Yorkshire-based Quickline’s holding company, QCL Holdings Limited.
Quickline’s management team, as well as Bigblu Broadband and Harwood Capital have retained minority stakes in the company.
In a statement, the company said: "The acquisition further underscores Quickline’s reputation as a frontrunner in complex, rural connectivity requirements. Quickline’s strategy includes a plan to invest more than £500m to provide ultrafast and gigabit-capable broadband connectivity in rural Northern England and beyond.
"Quickline expects to provide ultrafast broadband accessibility to more than 500,000 rural premises in the coming years by expanding its market-leading, gigabit-capable, next-generation hybrid network. New 5G capabilities will be a first of its kind in the UK, with the start of a large-scale, full fibre rollout to complement this in remote areas."
Quickline, which is based in Hessle, near Hull. is also working alongside local authorities and the Government to help remote communities by promoting the large-scale investment in gigabit-capable networks.
Quickline is upgrading digital infrastructures across North Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire, West and North Yorkshire.
Sean Royce, Quickline’s newly appointed CEO, said: “This is a major turning point in Quickline’s history and sets us even further apart from other ultrafast broadband providers.
“Receiving this kind of investment from Northleaf provides us with the ability to supply life-changing gigabit-capable broadband to hundreds of thousands of rural customers that previously were unable to access the internet at speed.
"We look forward to working alongside Northleaf to create this unique hybrid next-generation network, provide hundreds of jobs and build a business that provides new breakthroughs in internet connectivity for broadband users in remote pockets of the UK.”
Roderick Gadsby, Head of Northleaf’s infrastructure activities in the UK and Europe, said: “We are delighted that the acquisition has been successfully completed. Quickline is an excellent fit with our communications infrastructure investment strategy and offers our investors exposure to an attractive and growing sector.
“The evolution of the industry is being led by the likes of Quickline, which has experienced rapid growth in recent years. Quickline plans to utilise both full fibre and 5G fixed wireless technologies to accelerate the deployment of gigabit-capable broadband in remote UK regions which will provide critical infrastructure to rural communities in its target markets.”
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: "I welcome this substantial investment in Quickline. It will help us build back better by connecting more than half a million rural homes and businesses to top-of-the-range broadband speeds by 2025.
"Boosting connections in rural communities is crucial to our plans to level up Britain, and we're working alongside commercial providers to plug in hard-to-reach homes and businesses through our £5 billion Project Gigabit scheme."
Coun Don Mackenzie Executive Member for Access at North Yorkshire County Council, which established its own high-speed internet service provider NYnet in 2007, added: “We are committed to continuing to bring access to superfast broadband for our residents and businesses across North Yorkshire with our SFNY project. The latest phase of the programme being delivered by Quickline is vital as we extend connectivity to more premises in the most rural areas of the county.
“Communities are currently experiencing first-hand our and Quickline’s commitment to securing the future of digital connectivity in all our towns and villages. The transformation, especially in our more secluded communities is a key factor for improving our economy and employment prospects."