Equinix acquiring Nigeria’s MainOne for $320M to expand into Africa

December 7, 2021
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Funke Opeke
MainOne CEO, Funke Opeke

Equinix, a global digital infrastructure company, has announced it is acquiring MainOne, Nigeria’s based data centre and connectivity solutions provider with a presence in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, for $320 million.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, subject to the “satisfaction of customary closing conditions including the requisite regulatory approvals.”

The acquisition of MainOne, which was announced by Equinix on Monday, follows a series of moves by the company last year when it expanded to India through the acquisition of GPX India for $161 million and 13 data centres from Bell Canada for $780 million.

In a statement, Equinix acknowledged that acquiring MainOne is the first step in its long-term strategy to become an African carrier neutral digital infrastructure company.

“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,” the company said in the statement.

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 U.S., TechCrunch reported.

Armed with over $200 million in equity and debt investment, Opeke 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.

Upon closing, these facilities will add more than 64,000 gross square feet of space to Equinix, with 570,000 square feet of land for future expansions.

Globally, Equinix has 237 data centers across 27 countries. It also provides data center and interconnection services for over 10,000 of the world’s leading businesses, including more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies.

“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,” said Charles Meyers, the president and CEO of Equinix in a statement.

“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.”

MainOne CEO Funke Opeke and the company’s management team will still continue to serve in their respective roles after the acquisition is finalized.

Opeke said 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 added

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