Monday 26 February 2018

Acision raises $100m of new funding from shareholders

Acision's technology delivers almost a trillion text messages a year. Photo: Getty Images
Acision's technology delivers almost a trillion text messages a year. Photo: Getty Images
Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

ACISION, whose technology delivers almost a trillion text messages a year and which is part-owned by billionaires Dermot Desmond and Denis O'Brien, has raised $100m (€72.3m) of new funding from its shareholders.

The England-based company, whose systems are used by eight of the 10 biggest mobile operators, said the fresh capital will help it invest for growth.

Acision -- which has more than 1,650 staff worldwide and around 300 customers -- is not well-known in Ireland, but many of the company's owners, management and shareholders are Irish, including chairman Larry Quinn and Atlantic Bridge backers Denis O'Brien, Bill McCabe, former Microsoft Ireland boss Kevin Dillon and former Goldman Sachs executive Paul Harvey. One non-Irish shareholder is Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik.

"We are delighted to have secured this additional investment from Access Industries and other existing shareholders at a time when the telecoms industry is still feeling the effects of the economic downturn," chief executive Rory Buckley said yesterday.

Basil Geoghegan, Acision's corporate development officer, said the main impetus for fresh funds was not its major lender -- the now-nationalised Anglo Irish Bank.

Instead, he said the bulk of the funds would be used to fund acquisitions, partnerships, and capital expenditure agreements.

"We don't know when the economy's going to turn but we want to make sure we're well-placed when it does turn," Mr Geoghegan said. "We are very focused on mobile data, and managing and controlling mobile data. We believe that is the real next step for the operators," to boost profitability, he said. Len Blavatnik, who was valued at $7.5bn by 'Forbes' earlier this year, is Acision's largest shareholder via his company Access Industries.

Dermot Desmond, who was valued at $1.6bn by the same magazine, also owns a stake through his International Investment and Underwriting vehicle, while Irish private-equity firm Atlantic Bridge which includes Denis O'Brien among its investors also owns a stake.

Acision looked at an initial public offering candidate earlier this year but Geoghegan said the plan had never been very advanced and an IPO was not "needed in the short term."

Irish Independent

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