Global data center operator and interconnection provider Equinix has announced its intention to acquire MainOne, a prominent West African data center and connectivity solutions provider with operations in Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire. The transaction is scheduled to conclude in the first quarter of 2022, subject to the fulfilment of standard closing conditions, including regulatory clearances.
The deal has an enterprise value of US $320 million. It represents the first step in Equinix’s long-term goal to become a leading African carrier neutral digital infrastructure provider. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, with more than 200 million people and, along with Ghana, has positioned itself as a data center powerhouse, according to Equinix. This would make the data center operator’s acquisition a critical entrance point into the continent.
MainOne employs almost 500 people and has a management team that would be well-versed in both domestic and international markets. The facilities operator by MainOne generate approximately $60M annualized (Q2 2021) revenue with a purchase multiple of approximately 14x EBITDA.
“The acquisition of MainOne will represent a critical point of entry for Platform Equinix into the expansive and rapidly growing African market,” said Charles Meyers, President and CEO of Equinix. “MainOne’s leading interconnection position and experienced management team represent critical assets in our aspirations to be the leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure in Africa. 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.”
64,000 Gross Sq. Ft. of Colocation Space
Equinix considers MainOne to be one of Africa’s most intriguing technological companies. Founded in 2010 by Funke Opeke, the data center firm has enabled connectivity for Nigeria’s business community and presently has digital infrastructure assets comprising three operating data centers, with an additional facility under development due to operate in Q1 2022. These facilities, when completed, will provide more than 64,000 gross square feet of colocation space to Platform Equinix, as well as 570,000 square feet of land for future expansions.
“Africa has been the missing piece in the Equinix jigsaw, and this acquisition of MainOne will be a great first step onto the continent. The demand for data center services in Africa is strong, with Nigeria at the epicenter of exponential economic growth in West Africa,” said John Dinsdale, Chief Analyst & Research Director, Synergy Research Group. “Nigeria is
Africa’s largest country by both population and economy, and its growth drivers include rapid mobile adoption, increased data consumption from its young population, good subsea and terrestrial connectivity, and a strong enterprise market. This is advancing the region toward a more digitalized economy and driving data center growth and expansion to provide much-needed digital infrastructure.”
MainOne owns and runs a subsea network stretching from Nigeria to Portugal, as well as a 1,200-kilometer terrestrial fiber network in southern Nigeria. Connectivity to terrestrial sites extends across 65 PoPs (Points of Presence) in cities across Portugal, Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. All of these are boosting connectivity to and from Europe, West African countries, and Nigeria’s key commercial communities. When finalized, this acquisition will expand Platform Equinix into West Africa, providing enterprises operating both within and outside of Africa with access to one of the world’s fastest expanding marketplaces.
Platform Equinix now has a global network of 237 data centers spread over 65 metros and 27 countries, offering data center and interconnection services to over 10,000 of the world’s biggest organizations, including more than half of the Fortune 500.
“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,” said Funke Opeke, Founder and CEO, MainOne. “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.”
“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,” said Eugene Bergen, President, EMEA, Equinix. “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.”