UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones is aiming to build a £100m security services business on the back of his acquisition of ethical hacking outfit Pentest.
Jones acquired Manchester-based penetration testing specialist Pentest through his security testing firm, Secarma, for a rumoured £10m.
Pentest comes with 49 members of staff, most of whom are ethical hackers.
Jones (pictured), who also owns hosting firm UKFast, told CRN: "Secarma was set up to service the growing demand of the almost 5,000 customers in UKFast. With the increased demand, we were struggling to keep up. We felt it was important to go out to the market and look for like-minded companies, and we found this one in particular.
"Pentest comes with some very high-profile contracts with some of the biggest brands in the world. It gives us access to its ethical hackers at a time where there is huge demand in that industry."
Jones said that he has £40m set aside by the Royal Bank of Scotland for the expansion of UKFast and the companies that support UKFast. Currently the best way of expanding the businesses is through acquisitions, he added, and he intends to acquire more businesses.
"I see Secarma going off and buying more businesses, and being almost like the umbrella of this security service that we will be able to offer all businesses across the world," he said.
"The internet has changed dramatically since I set up UKFast 17 years ago. I think the opportunity to grow Secarma is colossal. I see Secarma as a £100m-turnover business in five years' time."
Jones said that decisions about integration will be left to the Pentest team, but the firm will definitely keep its name.
"I'm going to keep the Pentest name because it is exactly what it says on the tin," he explained. "They've built up a fantastic reputation in the industry. It would be daft to lose that."
Pentest is based in Altringham and has offices in the US, Glasgow and London. Jones said this is his first large acquisition, and he thinks Pentest will make Secarma significantly more profitable.
"It could possibly times the revenue by 10 overnight, and make it significantly profitable overnight," he added.
Pentest will have access to marketing funds for development and recruitment and Jones is hoping to recruit another 50 pen testers "almost immediately". The management team at Pentest will stay as it currently is.
John Denneny, managing director of Pentest, said: "In order for us to continue our current rapid growth curve, we believe the time was right to look for a partner whose approach to business and its employees very much mirrors ours. The deal gives us the opportunity to invest in our people and its future growth to a degree that we could not match alone."
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