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Cloud silo and services firm UKFast hires personal shopper

M&A specialist to help it score after 'missing out on past targets'

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Cloud silo and server hosting service provider UKFast, which owns three data centres across the UK and claims Coutts private bank and NHS trusts among its customers, has brought on board an M&A specialist to help it embark on a UK acquisition spree.

UKFast claims it had previously lost acquisition targets to rivals because it lacked the requisite expertise.

Catherine Houghton has been hired by the Manchester-based outfit to steer a buy-and-build strategy, having racked up 15 years of experience at PwC and Lloyds Development Capital.

Lawrence Jones, CEO at UKFast, told us his latest staffer will recruit and lead an M&A team to "look under the bonnet of business targets, acquire them and manage the fund".

Jones added: "We have seen companies in the past that we would have loved to acquire but they were snapped up by competitors. Now we have Catherine who will be dedicated to looking into acquiring firms… she has the very particular skill set and experience."

Jones said he has £3m cash in the bank and a relationship with Barclay Capital that he claimed gives UKFast access to £20m worth of funding.

The first deal likely to be concluded is for a 1,000-strong customer list, adding to the 4,500 which UK Fast claims to have on board - including Coutts, NHS Trusts and Kelloggs.

The Manchester-based firm owns three data centres and operates hosting and, more recently, co-lo services. It also runs an IaaS business working with channel partners.

Jones said that on top of customer lists it is also looking at "something to bolt onto our cloud environment".

In the last P&L accounts reported at Companies House for the year to 31 December 2011, UKFast saw turnover rise 32 per cent on the previous year to £16m and banked net profit of £2.6m up from £629,000. ®

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