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Principle One-1

Tico Digital acquires majority stake in Hong Kong based integrated IT and AV specialist


Technology & Data Services


Sell Side


December 2017


Principle One, the integrated IT and AV specialist that operates at the convergence of computing, networks, telecommunications and audiovisual technologies announces it has sold a majority stake to Tico Digital. Global M&A advisor, SI Partners, that has acted as a long-term advisor to Principle One, advised on the deal from buyer engagement through to transaction negotiation.

Principle One, founded by James Oliver in 2003, delivers projects and services across 11 countries in Asia from offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan with clients including UBS, Moncler, The Harbour School and over 150 hedge funds. Following the deal, James Oliver remains a shareholder and the Principle One leadership team of James Oliver and Joey Yeung will take positions as CEO and COO respectively. Principle One will remain an independent brand, operating in close collaboration with Tico.

Founded in 1994, Tico is a distributor and service provider of audio-visual system solutions in China. Their comprehensive system solutions encompass design, software development, product sales, integration and operation services, to its users in various fields, including Education, Medicine, Public Security, Culture and Creative industries.

SI Partners has worked with the leadership team of Principle One since 2014 on a number of projects, including a Strategic Options Review and a Profit Improvement Programme.

Principle One has a strong presence in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, providing integrated IT and AV services to a range of blue-chip clients. The partnership with Tico will allow them to continue to expand their offer regionally and beyond in addition to further developing their unique offering that operates at the intersection of converged IT and AV solutions to support their clients. As a leading provider of IT and audio-visual solutions in China, Tico are uniquely placed to support Principle One’s ambitions in the Greater China region and a perfect growth partner for Principle One, as Tico fundamentally recognise the value of developing IT and AV expertise as equals.

Commenting on the deal James Oliver states: “This is a great strategic fit for Principle One; Tico understands the opportunities that the convergence of AV and IT present, where so many others do not. Building a company that thrived on this convergence was at the heart of Principle One from when I started the company.”

James Oliver continues “SI Partners has been indispensable in guiding us through this deal. Their commercial acumen and ability to navigate the intricacies of this transaction have benefitted both Principle One and Tico.”

Zhou Zhou, President of Tico Digital, comments: “With the increase in Chinese investment overseas in recent years, the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative has brought new opportunities to Chinese corporations. Driven by continuing corporate globalisation, clients increasingly require cross-border communication capabilities.

The acquisition of Principle One will allow Tico to better utilise and integrate resources, supplier networks and brands. This integrated service offering will enhance Tico’s core competitive advantages, increase scale and profitability, and help the corporation to realise strategic expansion in the global market.”

 Alistair Angus, Partner at SI Partners who led the deal negotiations commented: “Principle One has found an excellent partner in Tico. SI Partners are delighted to have supported the Principle One team over a number of years and especially at this critical stage in their development.”

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SI Partners has been indispensable in guiding us through this deal. Their commercial acumen and ability to navigate the intricacies of this transaction have benefited both Principle One and Tico.

James Oliver, Managing Director, Principle One