Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

British Gas pays £44m for smart home firm AlertMe

Steve Rogerson
February 18, 2015
UK utility British Gas is paying £44m to acquire AlertMe, a UK-based company that creates products and services linked by the IoT to enable connected homes.
The deal will create the UK’s leading connected homes provider, by bringing together British Gas’ ability to innovate for mass market consumers with AlertMe’s next generation IoT technology and expertise. The acquisition will create a highly experienced team that hopes to accelerate the development of connected home services in the UK and worldwide, including to British Gas’ 11 million customer homes in Britain.
“This acquisition underlines our commitment to helping customers manage their homes, including their energy, more easily,” saidNina Bhatia, commercial director of British Gas. “Already, we’re the only business in the UK that can build the technology, develop the software, and provide expert in-home installation and service. With access to new technology and skills, we’re strengthening our capability at British Gas to develop a family of products that will put people in control of their homes in a way that’s simply never been possible before.”
She said the utility was also “excited” at the potential to enable further development of connected homes products and services in other parts of the Centrica Group – with Direct Energy in North America and Bord Gáis in the Republic of Ireland.
British Gas set out to build a leadership position in connected homes in September 2013, launching the Hive brand in which more than 150,000 of its customers can control their heating and hot water remotely from a smartphone or tablet. This is is powered by AlertMe’s platform.
“AlertMe has been the pioneer in establishing and growing the internet of things commercially in the UK and USA,” said Mary Turner, CEO of AlertMe. “We have created a market-leading internet of things platform and a highly experienced team of technologists and operational capability, which together have given us proven ability to serve mass market customers. We are excited to move forward with British Gas, with an opportunity to roll out service for tens of millions of homes, and to realise our ambition for further global distribution.”
The net cost of this acquisition to British Gas will be £44m, taking into account an existing 21 per cent holding in AlertMe. It is anticipated that the transaction will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2015.