GX Networks buys rival telecoms business

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The Independent Online

GX Networks, which provides telecoms services to small and medium enterprises, yesterday announced it had snapped up rival telecoms operation Firstnet Services in a move that will raise another couple of million pounds for its founder, Dominic Marrocco.

Mr Marrocco, who set up Firstnet in 1996 when he was 26, had already made a fortune by selling a 51 per cent stake in the company to Minorplanet, a vehicle tracking business, for £6m in cash and shares in 2000.

GX Networks, which also announced yesterday it had raised £12m in a share placing, said it was paying £4.3m for Firstnet, made up of £3.2m in cash and £1.1m in shares.

The acquisition of Firstnet, which is based in Leeds and employs about 100 staff, will give GX Networks another few thousand customers, boosting its total to about 20,000.

"Firstnet brings further diversification to GX's product range, including additional hosting capacity and wireless product," said Grahame Purvis, GX Networks' chairman and chief executive.

Peter Dubens, the executive vice-chairman, said yesterday that GX Networks would use the balance of the cash raised through its share placing to buy up other telecoms businesses.