Specialist Internet Service Provider for the Build to Rent sector – ASK4 – recently announced its forthcoming acquisition by US investment firm GI Partners. We spoke to ASK4’s CEO Andrew Dutton about what the sale means for ASK4 and its expansion in the Build to Rent sector.
The news of this acquisition generated plenty of interest. How has it been received in ASK4’s key markets?
It has been incredibly positive. GI Partners is well known and has an impressive reputation. Attracting an investor of this calibre, especially in today’s markets, is really testament to the outstanding team we have assembled and the rapidly growing client portfolio we have created across our core sectors, including Build to Rent. I am pleased to say that our clients and partners can readily see the benefits this investment will bring through the delivery of an enhanced set of services and service levels across all parts of the business.
If you were summing up the benefits of this investment to your current and future clients, what would you say?
In the simplest terms, it will enable ASK4 to forge ahead through innovating products and services that positively contribute to driving value in Build to Rent developments. It will also allow us to invest into our operational and servicing teams to strengthen our position in all the countries where we operate. In three words… consolidation, innovation and service expansion!
ASK4 is being acquired by the data infrastructure division, and it is the first investment for the fund in Europe?
The first of many no doubt, but yes, ASK4 is the first investment from GI’s infrastructure fund into Europe.
Does that add any additional pressure to perform?
You could look at it that way! But in all seriousness, what we appreciate about GI Partners is its determination to invest behind ASK4’s expansion and development ambitions, both geographically and sector-wide – particularly within Build to Rent in the UK and Europe. We have a clear set of objectives for the next year and beyond, and with GI we will have an investment partner ready to support ASK4’s management team at every step. I would say the atmosphere within ASK4 is one of excitement rather than pressure.
Speaking of the wider team, will the acquisition impact the day-to-day at ASK4 and its operations?
Not at all. It is very much business as usual. Our priority is always the service we deliver for our clients and the residents of the buildings we serve, and that won’t change. This investment is all about ASK4’s development potential and that is something our entire team is committed to realising.
GI Partners is a US led firm. Will this be a contributing factor to ASK4 expanding into North-America?
GI’s investment will support our growth in the US markets primarily because GI is keen to work with us on our growth plans into the US. Naturally having that link and being able to leverage their connections and understanding of the market will hopefully give us an additional advantage.
Finally, on ASK4 in the Build to Rent sector. You already provide services to several high-profile operators, and you have mentioned your plan to expand in this sector. What do you feel is unique to your proposition in Build to Rent?
The real value of our proposition for Build to Rent is the 23 years of development focused entirely on the multi-tenant sector. Everything we do as an organisation – from specialist proprietary technology to expert delivery and support processes – is all focused on ensuring residents and households in multi-tenant buildings have the sort of connectivity they need and expect in their homes. Our purpose as an organisation is to support people to be connected – enabling them to live life and work productively, and that underpins our approach to this sector.