Thrings advises Cornish internet service provider Wildanet on £50m investment

Specialist banking and finance lawyers at Thrings have helped Wildanet secure a £50m investment which will enable the leading internet service provider to roll out its gigabit-capable broadband network across Cornwall.

The funds will support Liskeard-based Wildanet’s growth plans by substantially expanding its network across the county and, in conjunction with its fixed wireless network, facilitate the provision of superfast, fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) broadband to thousands of homes and businesses.

The investment from the Gresham House British Strategic Investment Infrastructure Fund LP (BSIF) is also set to trigger a recruitment drive, with the roll-out of Wildanet’s network expansion creating up to 98 new jobs.

Wildanet was formed by chief executive Ian Calvert in 2017 to combat Cornwall’s connectivity problems and provide fast, reliable internet to customers in often hard-to-reach areas. Since 2018, the company has been backed by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

Ian Calvert said: “I’m delighted for Cornwall and for Wildanet that we have been able to secure this investment from Gresham House plc’s BSIF. It will enable us to expand our network across more of the county, deploy fibre to the premise technology whilst expanding our fixed wireless network and ultimately create new jobs in Cornwall.

“With households forecast to double the number of internet-connected devices in the next few years it’s clear that having a fast and reliable internet connection has become increasingly important.”

Ian Calvert and Charles McKay, Wildanet’s chief financial officer, received legal, commercial and strategic advice from Thrings’ banking and finance team, who reviewed and negotiated complex investment and security documentation, carried out a disclosure exercise, and ensured the investment adhered to government regulations.

The transaction was led by Mike Tomlin, with support from fellow partners Elaine Meyrick and Simon Hore, solicitors Lizzie King, Joseph Watkins and Carys Webb, and trainee Matt Cornforth. Employment law advice was provided by senior associate Natalie Ward.

Independent fund managers Amberside Capital advised Wildanet in relation to corporate finance matters.

Mike Tomlin said: “It was a pleasure to work with Ian, Charles and the team. This investment will allow Wildanet to fulfil its goals in terms of network expansion and access, and we look forward to seeing the results for the company, and for the region.”

Herbert Smith Freehills advised Gresham House on legal matters. Field Seymour Parkes acted for an existing shareholder/investor.