Palmarium acquires MVNO Lebara for an undisclosed fee

James Pearce
Published on:

Swiss investor has bought the London-based ethnic MVNO, with founder and CEO Ratheesan Yoganathan set to depart

Global MVNO Lebara has been acquired by Swiss investor Palmarium for an undisclosed fee.

The acquisition was made through Palmarium’s subsidiary VIEO, and sees Lebara Group and Lebara Trademark Companies become wholly-owned by the Swiss firm.

Lebara was founded in 2001 by Ratheesan Yoganathan as an ethnic MVNO, selling SIM cards aimed at international communities and migrant workers. It sells through 275,000 outlets with a customer base of more than 3.5 million and operations in eight countries.

As part of the acquisition, Yoganathan, currently CEO, and the rest of the company’s founders will leave Lebara, with Palmarium planning to install a new leadership team. This new team will be led by Graeme Oxby who has been appointed as CEO.

Oxby has been head of TMT at Palmarium since June, having joined from Liberty Global, where he headed up the firm’s European mobile operations since 2013.

Oxby was previously managing director of Virgin Mobile, acquired by Liberty in 2013, while he has also had stints as marketing director at Hutch’s UK operation, Three UK, and with Cable and Wireless, where he was VP of global mobile from 1997 to 2000.

“Lebara is a vibrant and exciting growth business with a great deal of potential. I’m excited to be at the helm, and believe this acquisition, combined with the strength of the new leadership team and its strong investors, will take this business to the next level.” Oxby said.