UK buyout firm ECI has bought underground wireless networking company Avitec for rival portfolio company Aerial in a deal valued at £24 million ($49 million, €36 million).
The deal is likely to bring exit forward significantly, according to ECI in a statement. This will probably come in the next six to 12 months and the firm is looking to raise £200 million from the exit, according to a banking source. Today, the combined value of the two companies is £150 million, she said.
ECI originally bought Aerial for £56 million through a management buy-in. After the deal the company will become one of the top three in its sector and is looking to compete with its US and Chinese rivals.
Aerial designs, manufactures and installs products which extend wireless networks to difficult to access areas such as tunnels, airports and shopping centres. This industry has grown significantly in response to terrorist attacks such as the London bombings in July 2006 which exposed problems in existing networks.
Aerial has worked on major projects such as Heathrow Terminal 5, the Reichstag Building as well as the Hong Kong and Singapore Metro systems.