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IT companies join forces following merger

Select’s Stephen Leahy and Firstnet directors David Cusworth and Angie Cusworth

IT companies, Leeds-based Firstnet and Manchester-based Select Data Centres, have merged to form a new business under the name of Firstnet Group.

The deal combines Select’s specialist expertise in data centre design and construction with Firstnet’s service expertise in connectivity, networks, managed IT, cloud platforms, system co-location and disaster recovery.

The new company is based at Firstnet’s HQ in Leeds which includes a 20,000 sq ft data centre and workplace recovery facility designed and built by Select.

The site is now jointly owned by Select’s Stephen Leahy and Firstnet directors, David Cusworth and Angie Cusworth. Mr Leahy was CEO at Select and has now become Firstnet Group’s CEO.

He brings 30 years’ experience in the critical power and data centre industry, including major development projects on behalf of the NHS, the Civil Aviation Authority, Siemens, Hyundai and BT.

Select’s Manchester base will now be deployed as a Firstnet Group satellite office to supplement the main operation in Leeds.

The new company plans to create a cluster of data centre space under the same brand to establish Firstnet Group as the foremost provider of ICT services in the region, offering unrivalled capability in IT infrastructure co-location and disaster recovery.

Mr Leahy said: “My eagerness to proceed with this merger was underpinned by the outstanding credentials and work ethic of the Firstnet professionals. They have a particularly impressive management team led by David and Angie.

“The deal represents a substantial investment in the city’s IT sector and we will continue to invest in our Leeds estate, which includes the region’s only purpose-built data centre.

“It already offers a capacity of over 400 cabinets for co-location, but we intend to increase that capacity as part of our ongoing expansion.  I believe that Firstnet Group’s combination of resources and skillsets will deliver a service level which is unprecedented in Yorkshire and the wider region.”

Mr Cusworth said: “This merger represents a positive development for our customers and a massive opportunity for our employees. It also positions the company for its next phase of growth in the UK data centre and IT sector.

“Firstnet has recently secured some major national clients in addition to a rapidly growing core market of SMEs and resellers.  We plan to double our sales staff by the end of 2017 and create 100 new jobs over the next 18 months.”

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