Ashurst advises Virgin Media O2 on acquisition of Upp, in partnership with nexfibre

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    Global law firm Ashurst has advised Virgin Media O2, in partnership with UK fibre builder, nexfibre, on an agreement with fibre operator, Upp, to acquire the provider, accelerating fibre rollout by 175,000 homes.

    The all-cash deal sees Virgin Media O2 initially purchase the provider and carry out integration work, but nexfibre will ultimately fund the acquisition through a back-to-back agreement to buy Upp’s network assets.

    As a result of the transaction, nexfibre will boost their fibre footprint by 175,000 premises in the East of England and ensure investment and network build in the region continues for years to come. Through its access to the nexfibre network, Virgin Media O2 will extend the reach of its gigabit connectivity to more homes.

    Over the next 12 months Virgin Media O2 will proceed with completing Upp’s build currently in progress; integrating and aligning Upp’s fibre network and systems; and offering Upp customers a wide range of Virgin Media O2 services.

    nexfibre will then acquire the network assets, with this second stage transaction expected to complete within the next year and resulting in a de minimis net cash outflow for Virgin Media O2.

    The Ashurst team was led by partners Molly Woods and Nick Elverston, supported by senior associates Aimi Gold and Adam Eskdale and associates Annie Marriner and Roshni Mehra.

    Nick Elverston, head of Ashurst's Digital Economy Transactions practice notes that this is a really important digital-infra mandate for Ashurst, advising long term client VMO2 on consolidation in the UK fibre market.

    Ashurst's Digital Infrastructure team combines corporate, commercial, regulatory, finance, construction and digital infrastructure experts from across the firm's network. The team has extensive experience of advising on all aspects of digital infrastructure activity, from developing digital strategies and exploiting new developments in technology, communications and data, to maximising value and mitigating threats.