Server room

Source: DataCenter Frontier

BY RICH MILLER – AUGUST 19, 2020

Data center developer EdgeConneX has agreed to be acquired by EQT Infrastructure, which is buying the company from Providence Equity Partners. The new owners hope to accelerate the growth of EdgeConneX, which has been a leading player in both edge computing and hyperscale data center development.

EQT is an infrastructure fund that has been an active investor in digital assets, most notably teaming with Digital Colony to acquire the Zayo Group and its telecom and data center networks. The deal boosts the growing presence of infrastructure investors as major players in digital infrastructure, bringing significant capital into the data center industry. Terms were not disclosed for the transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The EdgeConneX management team will stay in place, and the new owners say they “will support the continued development of EdgeConneX and actively assist the company in its pursuit of new opportunities to grow in existing and new markets globally.”

“EQT brings significant financial resources and digital infrastructure industry experience which EdgeConneX will use to accelerate growth and invest in new data centers around the world,” said Randy Brouckman, CEO of EdgeConneX. “I look forward to continuing to lead EdgeConneX, and we are very pleased to have EQT as our new owner and partner in this exciting growth phase.”

The EdgeConneX deal reflects the extraordinary demand for capital to fuel the growth of the data economy, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Large global investors like EQT – which is based in Sweden and has offices in 16 countries – see an opportunity in the accelerating shift to online services.

“EdgeConneX is uniquely positioned to benefit from the secular tailwinds driving increased data center usage,” said EQT. “As the need for data grows ever larger … there will continue to be substantial opportunities for EdgeConneX to continue to develop critical infrastructure to support its customers’ needs.”

Expertise Spanning All Levels of Digital Infrastructure

EdgeConneX has been distinctive for its ability to play at all levels of digital infrastructure, with projects ranging from cell towers and regional data centers right up to 100-megawatt facility in Amsterdam. All told, it has deployed more than 40 data centers.

The company was an early player in edge computing, building data centers at key network “pain points,” designed to handle high-density racks and operate without on-site staff. That vision has positioned EdgeConneX as an experienced hand in a young ecosystem, where the customers range from startups to tech giants.

Bloomberg report last fall named EQT as a suitor for EdgeConneX, which has often been the focus of M&A speculation.

“EQT has followed EdgeConneX’s journey from its early years to its growth into a top data center industry player,” said Jan Vesely, Partner at EQT Partners. “We are deeply impressed by EdgeConneX’s management team and the success they have had in creating a key contributor to the global cloud infrastructure. This partnership represents an exciting opportunity for EQT in a sector and geographies where we have significant experience. EQT looks forward to working with the team in continuing to grow the business and identify new expansion opportunities.”

EdgeConneX sees this as the third wave of edge deployments. The first wave involved the growth of “over the top” (OTT) streaming video from Netflix and other new content services. The second wave was the mainstreaming of cloud services. The third wave is driven by next-generation technologies including AI, 5G, the IoT, virtual and augmented reality and autonomous vehicles.

The company’s data centers are designed as “lights out” unmanned facilities, using sophisticated monitoring and remote hands for maintenance. EdgeConneX use its EdgeOS data center operating system to monitor and manage its facilities, with more than 1.5 million sensors used in the company’s data centers, monitored every 15 milliseconds.

Chris Ragona, Managing Director at Providence Equity, said it expected continued growth for EdgeConneX under its new ownership, “We fully expect EdgeConneX will continue its momentum and success as the company enters this next chapter. On behalf of our entire investor group, we wish them well,” said Ragona.