ARO provides business critical unified communications and IT services to enterprises and the public sector.
Over 25 years, led by Chris and Rich, ARO had become a leading player in the B2B comms and IT space benefitting from high quality, resilient earnings, and strong cash generation. ARO was looking for a partner to help accelerate organic growth through widening its product set to include more IT and collaboration tools and accessing the public sector. MML invested alongside Chris, Rich and the management team - who all reinvested materially - and created a significant equity pot for the broader management team, with a portion reserved to benefit all employees equally. Since investing, MML have helped the team deliver five highly accretive acquisitions, alongside accelerating organic growth.
ARO started life over 25 years ago as a mobile service provider and has continually diversified since then, now providing corporates with all IT and comms solutions across voice, cyber, connectivity and collaboration tools. This has included completing over 18 acquisitions. Today we have over 5,000 customers and 250 staff across nine UK offices. I joined the business in 2017 and MML’s investment was the catalyst for me to step into the CEO role and enable ARO’s founder, Chris Russell, to become Executive Chair.
As ever, the deal process took longer than it should, and we spoke to a number of parties with a view of getting the right cultural alignment with our future partner. We had good success with our previous investor and were looking for a larger partner with a similar view of what is important in business. Ultimately, we chose MML because Luke, Amar and Harri really understood our business and importantly understood the value was in our culture, given we are primarily a service led business.
Extraordinary! In less than three months we were navigating the business through Covid times with our new partners. Thankfully, MML has been incredibly supportive, enabling us to manage through the macro-environment largely unscathed. We’ve also been able to continue expanding our product portfolio, completing three strategic acquisitions. Coupled with bringing on board a new CFO, transitioning the group to working from home, and running a triathlon, it has certainly been a busy period!
For investors in MML Fund VI, MML Ireland I & MML Ireland II
For investors in MML Fund VII