Data centre and hosting slinger Onyx will erect a "for sale" sign outside its Stockton-on-Tees HQ in 2016, and the expectation from multiple sources is this will happen sooner rather than later.
The private equity-backed business is working with adviser Deloitte to run the sale but as yet no Information Memorandum has been drafted for prospective buyers.
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One well-placed contact confirmed that “Onyx is going into a process”.
Private investor Livingstone backed a £27m MBO at Onyx in October 2011, so the five-year investment cycle is almost up, and it wants to cash in. Another equity player is expected to cough for the business.
Onyx operates five bit barns and six workplace recovery units that are scattered across north-east England and Scotland. It sells cloud backup, cloud and managed hosting, colocation, connectivity, IT support and managed services. Customers include Stobart Group, DFS, Scottish Athletics and Newcastle United FC.
In the last accounts filed at Companies House for the year to 31 December 2014, Onyx reported operating profit of £1.35m on turnover of £20.23m. This compared with revenue of £18.8m and operating profit of £1.17m in the prior calendar year.
CEO Neil Stephenson told analyst Megabuyte in October he anticipated ending last year with the top line motoring along at circa £30m, helped by the acquisition of Knowledge in late 2014. Deloitte was also the adviser on that deal and has worked with Onyx since.
Onyx is reportedly plotting a course to grow into an £100m organisation, and last year it brought on board former Daisy Group CFO Andrew Goldwater to tot up the beans.
The company told us Deloitte remains its adviser but was unable to comment on specifics. ®