Notion Capital Portfolio Company Star is acquired in a deal valued at £55m

Acquisition represents a 12x return on equity for the Cloud-focused venture capital firm

22 November 2012, London: Notion Capital, the entrepreneur-backed venture capital firm, today announced the sale of Star, the leading provider of Cloud-based managed technology services, to Claranet, one of Europe’s leading managed service providers.

Claranet has acquired Star in a deal valued at £55 million, marking one of the most significant transactions in the on-going consolidation of Europe’s Cloud-based hosting, network and applications market. The acquisition creates the largest mid-market provider of integrated network and hosting services in the UK and Continental Europe.

Star was originally founded by serial entrepreneurs, Ben and Jos White, and subsequently acquired by the Notion Capital team, becoming managed as an anchor investment for Notion’s 2009 vintage first fund. This led to a strategic shift in the company from its ISP roots to a vision of enabling businesses to migrate their full computing and communication needs to the Cloud. The transaction represents a return on equity in excess of 12x for the Notion team.

Stephen Chandler, Managing Partner at Notion Capital who co-led the investment in Star said: “Our strategy is to only invest in what we know (i.e. Cloud Computing and SaaS) and we think this gives us a strong advantage in the market for both evaluating and supporting companies. With a double-digit multiple return on equity, this transaction provides further evidence that the strategy is working well.”

Paul Watson, Managing Director at Star, added: “Notion’s involvement has been instrumental to our success. As well as providing expansion capital, the team’s deep experience in what it takes to build successful Cloud companies was invaluable in helping us refine our strategy and market focus.”

Ben White, co-founder at Star and a Notion Partner, commented on the sale: "Having been involved with Star for some 17 years in various guises, including co-founder, CEO and more recently an investor and non-executive director, I have seen it grow and evolve into the business it is today – and of which I am tremendously proud. This transaction represents a new chapter. The cultural and strategic compatibility of Star and Claranet is second to none and I’m confident the enlarged group will go on to even greater things, creating significant opportunities for customers, partners and staff.”

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For further information please contact:

Neil Robertson at Speed Communications
Email: Neil.robertson@speedcommunications.com
Tel: +44 (0) 207 7842 3211
Mob: +44 (0) 773 932 2503
@neil_robertson

Nicole Hudspith at Speed Communications
Email: nicole.hudspith@speedcommunications.com
Tel: +44 (0) 207 7842 3245
Mob: +44 (0) 7971 479285

About Notion Capital:

Notion is a venture capital firm focused on high potential businesses in the Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) markets. The Notion team has unique expertise and experience in the Cloud Computing market having founded, built and exited two highly successful businesses in the space - Star and MessageLabs. Companies within Notion’s portfolio include Brightpearl, eSellerPro, NewVoiceMedia, Shutl, The Currency Cloud and Tradeshift.

The investment in STH Limited, holding company for Star, was held directly by Ben White on behalf of the Notion partners, but managed and reported as part of Notion Capital Partners Fund 1.

For more information go to: www.notioncapital.com

About Star:

Star is a managed services company, providing Cloud computing services specially tailored to the needs of medium sized businesses. Star’s people are positively different, with vision, knowledge and passion that deliver extraordinary results. Since its foundation in 1995, the Star name has been synonymous with innovation. Having pioneered cloud-based Internet security with the formation of MessageLabs, the company has continued to consolidate its status as a leading Cloud services expert, making technology a strategic consideration for business leaders.

Star collaborates with leading industry vendors and fosters long term relationships with customers, which results in transformational options that drive customer value and growth. Star’s mission is to help medium sized businesses in the UK realise their ambitions by redefining how they view their technology needs and prepare for a successful future. With 250 employees based from regional offices, Star’s people are directly in touch with the customers they serve and continually look to improve the quality of the customer experience.

For more information go to: www.star.co.uk