Equinix, a California-based digital infrastructure firm, has paid $320 million to acquire Nigeria’s biggest data centre and connectivity solutions provider, MainOne. MainOne is a West African data centre and networking solutions provider with offices in Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast.
The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, pending the “satisfaction of usual closing conditions, including regulatory clearances.” Equinix’s acquisition of MainOne follows several moves made by the global digital infrastructure giant last year, including the $161 million acquisition of GPX India and the $780 million purchase of 13 data centres from Bell Canada.
“Equinix will accelerate our long-term strategy to increase digital infrastructure investments across Africa,” Stated CEO Funke Opeke, confirming the sale of MainOne. Equinix is the choice partner for our expansion journey, with values and culture identical to what we have established together over the past twelve years. The MainOne team is delighted about the new collaboration formed due to the acquisition, and we look forward to working together to write our next chapter.” she added.
Equinix is a public trading business with a market capitalization of $73 billion and annual sales of $5 billion in 2020. With these figures, it is one of the most powerful participants in the worldwide connection market. With about 237 data centres in 27 countries worldwide, Equinix also provides data centre and interconnection services to more than 10,000 of the world’s most successful firms, including more than half of the Fortune 500.
Equinix, in a statement, made it known that acquiring MainOne is the first stage in its grand project to become a carrier-neutral internet infrastructure provider in Africa. “The acquisition of MainOne will offer a vital point of entry for Platform Equinix into the wide and fast-rising African market,” stated Charles Meyers, President and CEO of Equinix.
“MainOne’s leading interconnection position and experienced management team are valuable advantages in our quest to become Africa’s top neutral digital infrastructure provider.” “With over 200 million inhabitants, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and, along with Ghana, has established itself as a data centre hub. This “makes the acquisition a critical entry point for the company into the continent.” He added.
“MainOne’s infrastructure, customer relationships, partner ecosystem, and operational capacity will broaden Equinix’s reach and increase prospects for clients in Africa and worldwide.” He concluded.
Over 800 business-to-business customers in Africa use MainOne’s services. This includes major worldwide technology firms, social media firms, global telecommunications operators, financial services firms, and cloud service providers. MainOne expects to establish an additional data centre in Q1 2022, coinciding with Equinix’s acquisition, after connecting these firms through three operational data centres.MainOne, which employs 500 people, claims that its facilities generate $60 million in annual revenue and have a purchase multiple of 14 times EBITDA. (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization). Equinix is expected to gain more than 64,000 gross square feet of space from the acquisition once it is completed and 570,000 square feet of land for future expansions.
The following portions of the MainOne facilities and assets are included in the acquisition:
A 7,000-kilometer submarine network connecting Portugal to Lagos, Accra, and the West African coast, including landing ports in Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire.
In Lagos, Edo, and Ogun, a terrestrial network of more than 1,200 kilometres of dependable terrestrial fibre. 65 points of presence (PoPs) in cities across Portugal, Nigeria, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire provide connectivity to terrestrial locations. Access to significant internet exchanges, such as Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook, allows low-latency access to key worldwide networks.
Major worldwide technology businesses, social media companies, global telecommunications operators, financial service companies, and cloud service providers are among the estimated 800+ business-to-business customers—nearly 500 people and a management team that understands the local and international markets inside and out.
“This is a good move in the field of Foreign Direct Investment,” said Mr Ike Nnamani, President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria, ATCON. It demonstrates that foreigners still have faith in the Nigerian market, despite the popular notion that they are fleeing to other African countries.
“It’s also a favourable omen, given that a lot of money is projected to flow into the company and the system, resulting in job creation and large employment.” “At ATCON, our main goal is to attract FDI, and we can be proud of that,” he stated.
Founded in 2010 by noted businesswoman Funke Opeke after observing the terrible internet access that Nigerians faced. Opeke created MainOne, West Africa’s first privately owned, open-access undersea high-capacity cable, with over $200 million in stock and loan investment.
The company built the first private underwater cable in Africa (7000 kilometres) connecting West Africa to Portugal in Europe. In Lagos, Edo, and Ogun State, Nigeria, the company has 1,200 kilometres of terrestrial fibre and serves up to 800 enterprises with high-speed internet.
The company also has a growing list of Tier 3 data facilities fully operational in Lagos, Accra, and Abidjan. These facilities give access to important Internet exchanges, which minimizes Internet latency.
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