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Advent acquires AIRCOM


LONDON, 22 August 2005 Ė Advent International today announced the acquisition of AIRCOM International Ltd, a market-leading and rapidly growing global provider of wireless network planning, optimisation and performance management products and services to mobile telecoms operators. The business has been acquired from management and global mobility leader Nokia. Under the terms of the investment, management will roll-over a significant proportion of their shares and options, while Nokia will retain a small minority interest. The transaction, whose financial terms have not been disclosed, is expected to close before the end of the year. AIRCOM will remain a supplier to Nokia. AIRCOM has enjoyed and continues to enjoy a fruitful business relationship with Nokia, which made its initial investment in the company in 1999.

The investment is the third announcement from Adventís telecoms team in the last three months, following the recent divestments of MACH, a leading provider of inter-operator billing and clearing services, acquired by Warburg Pincus; and Cybercity, Denmarkís leading independent broadband service provider, acquired by Telenor (Oslo Stock Exchange: TEL). Like MACH and Cybercity, the investment in AIRCOM represents one of Adventís key buyout strategies, targeting companies in high-growth sub-sectors within Adventís areas of sector expertise.

Network optimisation and performance management are high-growth niches within the telecoms industry, driven by the increasing complexity of existing 2G/2.5G mobile networks, the high level of support required for new mobile technologies such as 3G and Wifi and the continued trend for mobile operators to outsource non-core activities.

Closely allied to AIRCOMís activities, worldwide growth in mobile infrastructure expenditure is expected to reach $71 billion by 2009, up from approx. $53 billion in 2004, with even higher growth rates forecast in developing markets where new networks are being deployed.

AIRCOMís activities comprise two main business areas: software solutions and high-end engineering services. Its products and services cover the full network life cycle, from spectrum acquisition to automated planning and optimisation. The companyís fully-integrated combination of tools and services is unique in the independent sector, affording operators highly valuable ďturnkeyĒ solutions. This represents an attractive choice for operators looking for an independent provider in a sector that is fragmented in terms of product and service definition. Since its founding in 1995, the business has consistently delivered profitable growth, with revenue for the year to June 2005 and June 2004 up 60% and 40%, respectively.

The strategy is to build on AIRCOMís market leadership through increased market penetration and the enhancement of its existing portfolio through the addition of complementary products and services. Selective acquisitions will also be considered.

AIRCOM currently provides products and services to 264 customers in over 115 countries worldwide. Based in the UK, the business operates from 14 offices worldwide and employs 580 full-time staff. Just over half of AIRCOMís revenue is generated in Europe with the rest being spread across the globe, primarily the Middle East, Asia and the US. Customers comprise blue chip mobile network operators and vendors such as Vodafone, Orange, Telefonica, T Mobile and O2. The company was founded by Dr Stephen Mockford (CEO) and Philip Caiger (CTO), both of whom will continue to lead the business. The pair are previous winners of the Ernst & Young UK Technology and Communications Entrepreneur of the Year award.

John Bernstein, Director who led the deal for Advent International and who joins the Aircom board commented: ďAs networks become increasingly complex, so operators need increasingly specialised tools and services to help them maintain operational efficiency. AIRCOM is ideally positioned to capitalise on this opportunit


Publisher Contact Information:

Advent International plc
+44 (0) 20 7269 7231
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