Burges Salmon advises Fern Trading Limited on the acquisition of Jurassic Fibre Limited

Fern also advised by Octopus Investments on a long term funding deal potentially exceeding £250 million, creating jobs and essential infrastructure in the South West.

17 May 2019

Jurassic, a recently established alternative network provider, is seeking to develop a Fibre-to-the-Premise (“FTTP”) network in the South West, with a focus on Devon, Dorset and Somerset. Jurassic plans to build and operate new full fibre infrastructure in towns and villages, delivering high quality, 1Gbps+ broadband to homes and businesses which are currently served by copper infrastructure.

The UK market is lagging behind the rest of Western Europe with one of the lowest FTTP coverage levels at just 6%. Jurassic Fibre, with the backing of Fern and Octopus, is now well placed to support the acceleration of the UK’s digital connectivity, seeking to offer broadband services to meet the rapidly increasing data consumption demands of consumers and businesses.

The Burges Salmon team comprised partner Mark Shepherd, senior associate Alex Lloyd and associate Martin Davidson from the Corporate team, Technology and Communications director Sarah Kenshall, Employment director James Green and Incentives senior associate Laura Allum.

Mark Shepherd, Corporate partner at Burges Salmon, says: “We are delighted to have worked with longstanding clients Fern and Octopus on this fantastic transaction, especially in this sector. Jurassic is set to be a key player in the roll out of FTTP, and will make a significant contribution to the future economy of the South West.”

Michael Maltby, CEO of Jurassic Fibre, says: “Jurassic Fibre is very pleased that Fern, advised by Octopus, has agreed to acquire the company and fund the roll out of its GPON ultrafast broadband network across the South West of England. It is a strong statement of faith both in the company and future of the region. Over the coming months and years, we look forward to working with communities, businesses and councils to build the digital infrastructure required to put the region at the forefront of the UK economy.”

Paul Latham, CEO of Fern, comments: “This is a great opportunity for Fern to back a highly experienced management team with a track record of building full fibre networks across the world, providing stable returns for our investors who want to put their money to work in the UK economy.”

Robert Skinner, Investment Director at Octopus, comments: “We are excited to be working with Jurassic Fibre to provide what is quickly becoming crucial infrastructure for any region of the UK. Having the support of Burges Salmon’s corporate and technology and communications teams was essential to completing the acquisition and positioning Jurassic Fibre to succeed in its plans for the coming years.”

Phil Twiss, Councillor, Devon County Council, says: “I welcome Jurassic Fibre to Devon’s broadband community and look forward to the commercially funded roll out of its ultrafast broadband services to communities and businesses across the region. This will extend broadband choice and complement the work supported by the Council over the last few years at no cost to the tax payer, helping to future proof the County for the 21st Century.”

John Sellgren, Dorset Council Executive Director for Place, says: “Dorset welcomes this commercial investment. It will bring fantastic opportunities to the businesses, residents and visitors of Dorset. We recognise the importance of high speed reliable digital connectivity and this announcement gets Dorset well on its way to the Government’s ambition of full fibre for the whole country by 2033."

Key contact

Mark Shepherd

Mark Shepherd Partner

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