The telecoms tycoon who founded Daisy Group has snubbed a sale to private equity firms in favour of a deal that will see him take full control in a deal worth over £1.6bn.
Sky News has learnt that Matthew Riley, who left school aged 16 and founded Daisy in 2001, is in advanced talks to acquire the stakes held by the company’s independent shareholders.
Sources said that Mr Riley had decided to pursue a buyout of the company’s other investors after rejecting a proposal from Bain Capital that would have valued Daisy at £1.6bn, including debt.
The deal is expected to be signed with Toscafund and Oakley Capital, which between them own roughly half of Daisy’s shares, in the coming days.
Other buyout firms including Apollo Global Management and Searchlight Capital Partners are understood to have lodged bids for the company, which provides telecoms and IT services to corporate customers.
The transaction is expected to form part of a broader package which includes a £1bn refinancing of the Daisy Group business, with debt providers including Ares, Highbridge Capital Management and Lloyds Banking Group.
Mr Riley has become one of Britain’s wealthiest self-made entrepreneurs, initially taking Daisy onto the public markets and then delisting it again in 2014 with the backing of Toscafund.
The decision to acquire the stakes of Daisy’s other shareholders effectively means that Mr Riley, its executive chairman, is committing his medium-term future to the company.
Daisy’s founder, who counted the billionaire former owner of BHS, Sir Philip Green, among his mentors, has built the company through a string of acquisitions, including the £165m takeover of Alternative Networks nearly a year ago.
More recently, he struck a £175m deal with TalkTalk to acquire a chunk of its business-to-business customer base.
After leaving school, Mr Riley began working life by fixing fax machines, before going on to establish a recruitment business.
Lancashire-based Daisy manages mobile, cloud and other services for business customers, and describes itself as the UK’s largest independent provider in the sector.
It now has more than 60,000 direct customers, including half of Britain’s high street retailers, and employs over 4,000 people.
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Insiders said Daisy was forecast to make earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of about £150m in the year to March 2019.
A spokesman for Daisy declined to comment on Friday.