Equinix Receives $320 Million for Africa Expansion

Equinix has announced that it has completed the purchase of MainOne, a West African data center and connectivity solutions firm with operations in Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast for $320 million.

The merger is expected to be completed in Q1 2022, subject on the standard closing conditions such as regulatory clearances.

Equinix’s purchase of MainOne is the second large-scale internet infrastructure deal in Canada in recent days. Last year, the global digital infrastructure firm expanded to India via the acquisition of GPX India for $161 million and acquired 13 data centers from Bell Canada for $780 million.

In a press release, Equinix acknowledged that acquiring MainOne is the company’s first step toward becoming an African carrier neutral digital infrastructure business.

The company added: “Nigeria, with more than 200 million residents, is Africa’s most populous economy and has established itself as a data center hotspot alongside Ghana. This makes the acquisition an important milestone for Equinix in terms of entering the continent.”

MainOne was founded in 2010 by Funke Opeke, who noticed the severe internet connectivity problems that residents of Nigeria had to deal with upon her return to the West African nation from the United States. MainOne is a 7,000-kilometer undersea cable stretching from Portugal to West Africa that includes landings in Accra, Ghana; Dakar, Senegal; Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire; and Lagos, Nigeria.

Afribond Internet, a subsidiary of Lagos-based Afrihost, has a combined fiber optic and terrestrial infrastructure across southern Nigeria. Connectivity extends to 65 PoPs (points of presence) in Portugal, Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast via terrestrial sites.

Over 800 business-to-business clients, such as major international technology firms, social media firms, worldwide telecommunications operators, financial service businesses, and cloud service providers, use BasicOne’s services.

MainOne has set out to expand its data center presence in the US through three operational data centers. In the first quarter of 2022, the firm plans to open a new site near Equinix’s purchase, which coincides with it becoming a member of the NYIIX group.

According to Lemon, the company is evaluating several alternatives. He said that while this acquisition might be larger than OneMainOne and its 500-person staff, he expects a revenue multiple of around 14x EBITDA as opposed to the 11x multiple given by MainOne.

Equinix will expand by almost 64,000 gross square feet after closing these facilities, adding more than 570,000 square feet of land for future growth.

Equinix has 237 data centers in 27 countries around the world. It also serves data center and interconnection needs for over 10,000 of the globe’s major corporations, 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.”

The acquisition of MainOne will not change CEO Funke Opeke or the firm’s leadership team in their current roles. Opeke said that the merger would assist MainOne in achieving its long-term goal of creating 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.