3i, Europe's largest venture capital company, has backed the merger of three UK water cooler companies.

The three medium-sized watercooler companies have come together into one consolidated national operation.  3i has invested close to £10m in exchange for a significant stake in the merged business.

Angel Springs Holdings is formed by the combination of Chiltern Hills, Angel Springs, and SPA.  The combined business will have over 25,000 coolers and a national coverage.

"3i is backing experienced entrepreneur John Dundon whom they have backed before in this market.  Dundon will be CEO.  3i has further strengthened the management team with the introduction of Chris Routledge as FD and Wayne Bradley as Chairman, both of whom have also been previously backed by 3i," the venture capitalist said in a statement.

Paul Cannings, 3i director said: "This is a great example of using private equity to find solutions for private vendors.  Alongside the incumbent team we have introduced John Dundon who is a first rate manager whom we have backed before.  By acquiring these three businesses simultaneously we have created a national player in the fast growing office watercooler market which we believe is well placed for continued success."