California-based digital infrastructure company Equinix, Inc. has announced its expansion into Africa through its intended acquisition of MainOne, a West African data centre and connectivity solutions provider, with presence in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. The acquisition is expected to close in Q1 2022.
The transaction has an enterprise value of US $320m and is expected to be AFFO accretive upon close, excluding integration costs. With more than 200m people, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and, along with Ghana, has become an established data centre hub. This makes the acquisition a pivotal entry point for Equinix into the continent.
Founded by Funke Opeke in 2010, 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 Q1 2022. Upon closing, these facilities will add more than 64,000 gross square feet of space to Platform Equinix, with 570,000 square feet of land for future expansions.
MainOne owns and operates a subsea network from Nigeria to Portugal, as well as 1,200 kilometres of terrestrial fibre 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 organisations based inside and outside of Africa access to growing markets.
Charles Meyers, President and CEO of Equinix said: “The acquisition of MainOne will represent a critical point of entry for Platform Equinix into the expansive and rapidly growing African market. 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. The 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.”
Under the terms of the transaction, the management team, including CEO Funke Opeke, will continue to serve in their respective roles.
John Dinsdale, Chief Analyst & Research Director, Synergy Research Group, added: “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 centre services in Africa is strong, with Nigeria at the epicentre of exponential economic growth in West Africa. 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 digitalised economy and driving data centre growth and expansion to provide much-needed digital infrastructure.”
Funke Opeke stated: “Equinix will accelerate our long-term vision to grow digital infrastructure investments across Africa. I thank our founding shareholders led by 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.”
Eugene Bergen, President, EMEA, Equinix, stated: “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 centre 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 organisations 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.”