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Equinix to buy MainOne in push for Africa’s data centre market

Over 40% Nigerian businesses rely on interconnection for expansion – Equinix

Equinix, a US-based global infrastructure company, is perfecting plans to acquire MainOne, one of the largest data centres in West Africa, for $320 million as it moves to become a dominant player in Africa.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first three months of 2022, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions including the requisite regulatory approvals.

Founded in 2010 by Funke Opeke, MainOne has a presence in three countries including Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire. The acquisition marks the first step in Equinix’s long-term strategy to become an African carrier neutral digital infrastructure company. Equinix is betting on Nigeria’s growing population pushing demand for data centres and a spike in the number of operators.

“Expansion in Africa has long been a strategic priority for us. With MainOne, we have found a company that not only has highly complementary data center and connectivity assets but can further accelerate the expansion of our business model and growth objectives. CEO Funke Opeke and her team have built a powerful and dynamic infrastructure that will enable international customers access to the continent and African organizations access to the global Equinix platform. Customers can take full advantage of Equinix’s leading global interconnection services to connect with customers and partners, participate in rich digital ecosystems and expand their business across Africa and around the world,” Eugene Bergen, President, EMEA, Equinix, said.

Read also: Nigeria gets AfDB’s $600m to fund digital, creative enterprises next year- Osinbajo

Since it was founded, MainOne has  enabled connectivity for the business community of Nigeria and now has digital infrastructure assets including three operational data centres, with an additional facility under construction expected to open in the first quarter of 2022. The facilities generate approximately US$60 million annualized (Q2’21LQA) revenue with a purchase multiple of approximately 14x EBITDA.

When the acquisition is completed, MainOne’s facilities are expected to add more than 64,000 gross square feet of space to the Equinix platform with 570,000 square feet of land for future expansions.

Globally, Platform Equinix is comprised of 237 data centers across 65 metros and 27 countries, providing data center and interconnection services for over 10,000 of global businesses, including more than 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies.

MainOne owns and operates a subsea network from Nigeria to Portugal, as well as 1,200 kilometers of reliable terrestrial fiber network across southern Nigeria. These are all improving connectivity to and from Europe, West African countries, and the major business communities in Nigeria. When completed, this acquisition will extend Platform Equinix into West Africa, giving organizations based inside and outside of Africa access to one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

Charles Meyers, President, and CEO, Equinix, says the MainOne deal represents a critical point of entry for Platform Equinix into the expansive and rapidly African market.

“Growth of data consumption in Africa is amongst the fastest in the world, and our customers are looking for a trusted partner to pursue the opportunities presented by broad mobile adoption and greater connectivity across the region. MainOne’s infrastructure, customer relationships, partner ecosystem and operating capability will extend the reach of Platform Equinix and bolster opportunities for customers in Africa and throughout the world,” Meyers said.

Under the terms of the transaction, the management team, including CEO Funke Opeke, will continue to serve in their respective roles. Opeke holds a master’s in engineering from Columbia University and was named one of the World’s Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes in 2018 for her efforts in sparking internet adoption. She was also recently named one of the Top 10 Women to Watch in the Data Center Industry by Data Centre Magazine.

MainOne has nearly 500 employees and a management team. It also has an estimated 800+ business-to-business customers, including major international technology enterprises, social media companies, global telecommunications operators, financial service companies, and cloud service providers.

“Equinix will accelerate our long-term vision to grow digital infrastructure investments across Africa. I thank our founding shareholders led by Mr. Fola Adeola, MainStreet Technologies, AFC, PAIDF, FBN, Polaris and AfDB for investing in the MainOne vision to bridge the digital divide in Africa. With similar values and culture to what we have jointly built in twelve years, Equinix is the preferred partner for our growth journey. The MainOne team is excited about the partnership created through the acquisition, and we look forward to building our next chapter together,” said Funke Opeke, Founder and CEO, MainOne.