BSkyB buys WiFi operator The Cloud

Pay-TV operator BSkyB has acquired public Wi-Fi operator business The Cloud to increase the media giant's mobile content activities and reach.

Pay-TV operator BSkyB has acquired public Wi-Fi operator business The Cloud to increase the media giant’s mobile content activities and reach.

The acquisition announced today within BSkyB’s six-month results will see the company, which is facing a takeover from majority shareholder News Corporation, take ownership of more than 5,000 public WiFi locations across the UK.

The purchase amount has not been disclosed, but according to BSkyB, The Cloud had gross assets of £17.1 million at end of last year.

Founded in 2003 and led by chief executive officer Steve Nicholson, The Cloud initially created indoor ‘hotspots’ for high-speed broadband access before expanding to specialise in developing large outdoor public internet access areas. Clients include international retailers, restaurants, leisure and hotel chains, and the company operates in 12 European countries.

BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch says the acquisition will increase the company’s mobile content activities related to its Sky Anywhere products.

Darroch comments, ‘The acquisition gives us ownership of over 5,000 public Wi-Fi locations across the UK, ensuring that customers can access our online service at a network of convenient locations. In addition, the initiative will complement our existing broadband services by offering customers a comprehensive option for Wi-Fi connectivity while they are on the move.’

The Cloud was part of DFJ Esprit’s acquisition of part of 3i’s European venture portfolio, a deal which was announced in September 2009, and follows the firm’s exit earlier this month from LoveFilm, which was acquired by online retailer Amazon.

DFJ Esprit partner Krishna Visvanathan comments: ‘We are happy with the disposal of The Cloud. It is a good outcome for the company and a testament to the management team.’

Nick Britton

Nick Britton

Nick was the Managing Editor for when it was owned by Vitesse Media, before moving on to become Head of Investment Group and Editor at What Investment and thence to Head of Intermediary...

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