Data center-oriented M&A deals that closed in the first sixteen weeks of 2020 has already surpassed the 2019 total, according to new data from Synergy Research Group. Synergy has so far identified 28 data center-oriented M&A deals that have closed this year.
In the last four years the trend has been for the number of deals to increase sharply, while in the last two years the aggregate value dropped off due to a relative lack of mega-deals being closured. That situation has reversed in the first months of 2020, thanks in large part to the $8.4 billion acquisition of Interxion by Digital Realty, which is the largest ever data center transaction. Meanwhile two other billion dollar-plus deals have closed so far this year as well as two that were valued at over $500 million.
“This will be a bumper year for data center M&A activity,” said John Dinsdale, a Chief Analyst at Synergy Research Group. “In less than four months the M&A value has already surpassed 2019, in addition to which we are aware of 17 more agreed deals that are pending closure plus a few other potential multi-billion dollar deals. What is causing this surge in M&A? Outsourcing trends and the aggressive growth in cloud services are driving ever-growing demand for data center capacity, which in turn is fueling both industry restructuring and a need to find new sources of investment capital.”
Private Equity Buyers
Since the beginning of 2015, Synergy Research has identified 388 closed data center M&A deals with an aggregated value of $90 billion. Over the period, the aggregated deal value has been split equally between public companies and private equity buyers, while private equity buyers have accounted for 57% of the deal volume. Since 2015 the largest deals to be closed are the acquisitions of Interxion and DuPont Fabros by Digital Realty, the acquisition of Global Switch by a group of Chinese investors and the acquisitions of Verizon data centers and Telecity by Equinix.
Over the 2015-2020 period, by far the largest investors have been Digital Realty and Equinix, the world’s two leading colocation providers. In aggregate they account for 35% of total deal value over the period. Other notable data center operators who have been serial acquirers include CyrusOne, Iron Mountain, Digital Bridge/DataBank, NTT, GI Partners, Carter Validus, GDS, QTS and Keppel.