American digital infrastructure company, Equinix, has announced that it is acquiring MainOne, a West African data centre and connectivity solutions provider with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast at the rate of $320million (N131.6billion).
The acquisition is to be finalised close the first quarter of 2022, subject to the “satisfaction of customary closing conditions including the requisite regulatory approvals.”
The development trails a series of moves by the global digital infrastructure player last year when it expanded to India through the acquisition of GPX India for $161million (N66.2billion) and acquired 13 data centres from Bell Canada for $780million (N320.8billion).
In a statement on Tuesday, Equinix acknowledged that acquiring MainOne was the first step in its long-term strategy to become an African carrier neutral digital infrastructure company.
The statement said, “With more than 200 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and, along with Ghana, has become an established data center hub. This makes the acquisition a pivotal entry point for Equinix into the continent.”
Funke Opeke started MainOne in 2010 after noticing the poor internet connectivity Nigerians had to deal with upon her return to the West African country from the US.
She built MainOne as West Africa’s first privately owned, open access undersea high capacity cable submarine. It’s a 7,000-kilometer cable stretching from Portugal to West Africa with landings along Accra in Ghana, Dakar in Senegal, Abidjan in the Ivory Coast and Lagos in Nigeria.
MainOne also has 1,200 kilometers of terrestrial fiber network across southern Nigeria in Lagos, Edo and Ogun states. Connectivity to terrestrial sites extends across 65 PoPs (points of presence) in cities across Portugal, Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
MainOne’s services are used by over 800 business-to-business customers. They include major international technology enterprises, social media companies, global telecommunications operators, financial service companies and cloud service providers.
Having enabled connectivity for these businesses via three operational data centers, MainOne plans to open an additional facility in Q1 2022, a move that coincides with Equinix’s acquisition.
MainOne, which has a 500-person team, said its facilities generate approximately $60 million annualized revenue with a purchase multiple of approximately 14x EBITDA.
According to Opeke, the acquisition will accelerate MainOne’s long-term vision to grow digital infrastructure investments across 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,” she said.
On his part, Charles Meyers, the company's president, 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.
“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.”