* Firm had been touted as IPO candidate earlier in year
* Seeks opportunities as mobile data traffic explodes
* Owners are Blavatnik, Dermot Desmond, Atlantic Bridge
By Quentin Webb
LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Acision, the mobile-data company whose technology delivers almost a trillion text messages a year, has raised $100 million of new funding from its owners, led by Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik.
The company, whose systems are used by eight of the 10 biggest mobile operators, said the fresh capital will help it invest for growth as devices like Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iPad drive a huge increase in mobile-data traffic.
Basil Geoghegan, Acision’s newly hired corporate development officer, said the main impetus for fresh funds was not its major lender, the now-nationalised Anglo Irish Bank [ANLIB.UL].
Instead, he said the bulk of the funds would be used to fund acquisitions, partnerships, and capital expenditure agreements.
“We don’t know when the economy’s going to turn but we want to make sure we’re well-placed when it does turn,” Geoghegan told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“We are very focused on mobile data, and managing and controlling mobile data. We believe that is the real next step for the operators,” to boost profitability, he said.
Blavatnik, who was valued at $7.5 billion by Forbes earlier this year, is Acision’s largest shareholder via his company Access Industries.
In the United States, he is being sued by creditors of LyondellBasell, who say he knew the $12 billion leveraged buyout that created the now-bankrupt petrochemicals company would fail. [ID:nN24235944]
The other investors, who are also contributing new funds to Acision, are Irish private equity firm Atlantic Bridge, and the International Investment and Underwriting (IIU) vehicle of Dermot Desmond, the Irish billionaire who once owned London City Airport.
Newspaper reports touted Acision as a possible initial public offering (IPO) candidate earlier this year. But Geoghegan said the plan had never been very advanced and an IPO was not “needed in the short term.”
Acision was formed after Atlantic and Access led the 2007 buyout of the telecoms products business of LogicaCMG, now known just as Logica LOG.L, for 265 million pounds.
Acision’s clients include Russia’s Vimpelcom VIP.N. It competes with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] and Hong Kong-listed ZTE Corp (0763.HK).
It cites Cisco research that predicts a 39-fold increase in global mobile data traffic from 2009 to 2014.
additional reporting by Victoria Howley; editing by Bernard Orr