Terry Cox, who runs the Business Innovation and Growth Council (as in BIG) for entrepreneurs in Charlotte, captured best Monday’s news that data, cloud and IT services provider Peak 10 is being sold.


“This is every entrepreneur’s dream- multiple exits with the same company! A BIG congrats again to our friends at Peak 10!”

Congrats especially to David Jones, the company’s visionary founder who launched Peak 10 in 2000 and has built it into a regional powerhouse with 24 data centers spread from the Ohio Valley to Atlantic to Gulf Coast.

In a two-part Q&A with WRAL TechWire, Jones won’t discuss particular parts of the deal – such as how much new owner GI Partners is paying Welsh Carson, which bought venture capital-backed Peak 10 in 2010. That deal reportedly valued Peak 10 at some $400 million. Now, the Charlotte Business Journal speculates that Peak 10 could be headed toward a valuation of $1 billion.

Did Peak 10 mull going public? Were there other potential buyers? The Charlotte newspaper reports that more than 10 firms were suitors for Peak 10 when Welsh Carson looked to cash out.

However, Jones does say the deal, which is expected to close within the next several weeks, does provide Peak 10 with “renewed energy.” He also doesn’t expect “any impact” on Peak 10’s current management or employees.

In other words, the 67-year-old plans to stay at the helm.

By doing so and pulling off this sale, Jones further establishes himself as one of the technology pioneers who have been so important in the gradual transformation of North Carolina’s economy through the embrace of the Internet, the web, improved telecommunications and so much more. He also has been an active leader of Charlotte’s growing entrepreneurial community, especially in working with Cox and the BIG  council to document the companies, the growth and the opportunities for big b

Here’s our Q&A.

  • How will this transaction affect current Peak 10 management and staff? Is anyone leaving as a result?

This new, strategic financial partnership will enable Peak 10 to continue our growth, further accelerating our managed services and cloud offerings, our operational automation and go-to-market strategies, and more rapidly extend our geographic footprint.

GI Partners believes in our culture, our team and the plan we have laid out. They want to see us continue to grow and they’re bringing their investment and expertise to the table to help us realize our future. We don’t anticipate any impact on Peak 10 jobs or employees. For Peak 10, it is business as usual but get ready for a renewed energy to aggressively drive growth!

  • Have you decided to stay yourself and if so why? What keeps you going?

This is an exciting time for Peak 10 as we enter a new chapter better positioned for future expansion, and I look forward to my continued leadership role at the company on our path to further growth.

Peak 10’s management team remains in place and is actively engaged in driving this next phase of our company as we expand into new markets and strengthen our offerings. While a partnership with GI Partners will create a new operating environment with new liquidity, nothing changes today.

  • The announcement mentions opportunities for Peak 10 to add more services and to grow geographically. Do you hope to make acquisitions or add new centers in more cities or both? How does new ownership help here?

Together, we have the depth of resources and experience to drive much bigger achievements. This is a very positive move for us and allows us an opportunity to expand in new directions, sustain new growth and leverage our partner program. Through our well-established leadership team, our Partner Alliance program, and a well-defined operational automation strategy, this partnership will create many opportunities and drive deeper and more meaningful relationships with our customers.

We cannot speculate on future plans that may occur under our new ownership. But we can tell you that GI Partners has deep experience in value creation in the sector and a strong history working with technology and cloud-based companies in their portfolio. Their financial and operations activities are strategic. For Peak 10, it’s important to have a partner that shares in our strategic vision in order to facilitate our growth plans.

So What’s Next?

Jones declined to answer specific questions about what other interest there was in buying Peak 10 or whether Welsh Carson considered another possible exit route.

However, in Part Two of the Q&A, Jones talks about where he sees the company headed under new owners and the deal’s impact on Charlotte’s entrepreneurial community.

Part Two is now available online.