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Spice telecoms unit snapped up in £33m Gresham-backed management buyout

Steve Dinneen
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Utility support services firm Spice will sell its telecoms business for £32.8m, it said yesterday.
Private equity firm Gresham has backed a management buyout to snap up the firm’s Team Telecom Group (TTG) unit.
Mike Norfield, chief executive of TTG said: “This is a very exciting time for TTG. We have invested heavily over the past three years to develop market leading businesses and products.

“With Gresham’s support we intend to continue this investment and increase our international presence, both organically and by acquisition.”

The buyout includes £7.3m of debt and other liabilities. Spice said it will use £25.5m of the proceeds to repay bank debt.

Meanwhile, Vodafone announced it will be Europe’s first carrier to sell Google’s Nexus One phone, starting in Britain on April 30. Vodafone said it will give away Google’s first own-branded phone for free to customers who take out a two-year, £35-per-month contract. Price plans will start at £25 per month.

Google is also selling the Nexus One, made by Taiwan’s HTC, directly to consumers, shaking up an environment where carriers normally control customer relationships.

Virgin Media also announced it has reached one million mobile contract subscribers. The firm has increased the number of customers signing up to a mobile contract by more than 40 per cent in the past 12 months. Virgin Media recently launched a range of new, high-end handsets, including the LG InTouch Max, HTC Desire and the BlackBerry Bold 9700.