JT 'Internet of Things' division £200m sale

THE government is set for a huge cash windfall after JT agreed to sell a majority stake of its high-tech ‘Internet of Things’ division in a deal believed to be worth as much as £200 million.

JT chief executive Graeme Millar (31123686)
JT chief executive Graeme Millar (31123686)

The proceeds of the sale, to private equity firm Perwyn, are due to be shared between the telecoms firm and the government, which is its sole shareholder. It is unknown how the proceeds will be divided between the two at this stage, but the JEP understands the deal was worth around £200m.

JT launched its Internet of Things division, which it says has doubled in size in each of the past three years, in 2014 as part of an international expansion programme, which has resulted in almost ten million JT SIMs now being in active use.

The division has 70 staff worldwide, including 20 in Jersey, and has been involved in a range of projects involving ‘machine to machine’ device interactions using web networks.

Buyers Perwyn are a ‘family-backed private equity investor’ which specialises in investing in rapid growth technology companies. JT will retain a minority stake in the new company, which will continue to be located in Jersey.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré said: ‘This is very good news for Jersey and demonstrates what can be achieved in our strategic approach to managing arms-length organisations and the growing importance of our digital economy.

‘The new business will attract significant inward investment to the Island, and it will also offer new employment opportunities for Islanders. Jersey is gaining a global reputation as an incubator of successful digital businesses, and I am determined this represents the start of an even more exciting time for Jersey’s digital sector.’

JT chief executive Graeme Millar said that the deal could see in the range of £130 million pumped into projects in Jersey such as upgrading its mobile phone network to 5G and replacing Chinese infrastructure, as well as paying off the cost of the ‘fibre’ high-speed internet project.

‘This is something we have been working on for a number of years and its really great to see the benefits of this coming to fruition,’ he said.

Meanwhile, JT chairman Phil Male added: ‘I am immensely proud of the hard work, talent and commitment which the JT team have shown to get our IoT business to this point. Together we have grown this business from inception into an entity now worthy of a sale at this scale. This sale not only shows the vast potential and value of Jersey’s digital sector, but also demonstrates that within Jersey we have both the human talent and the funding to enable and build globally successful digital businesses.

‘Now is the right time for JT to sell the majority of this business, in order to further turbo-charge that success. Whilst retaining a minority stake and becoming a supplier to Jersey’s biggest technology business, we believe that in Perwyn we have a new owner for the business with the vision and risk appetite to fund and grow this young, dynamic and growing global Jersey business.’

Andrew Wynn, founder and managing partner of Perwyn, said: ‘We have been watching JT’s development in this space for some time with great interest and are impressed by both the speed and scale of their success and growth in this area.

‘They are now one of the most attractive players in this global market. The process of dealing with JT and the island of Jersey during this transaction has been collaborative and productive.

‘We are confident this relationship will bring benefits to Jersey, as well as augmenting the Island’s future attractiveness as an incubator for leading-edge innovative businesses.’

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