Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Cloud

Equinix gets into Africa with $320M MainOne buy

Article Image
Equinix, the data center company which just marked its 75th consecutive quarter of revenue growth, is rolling into Africa with a chunky $320 million buy of West Africa's data center company MainOne.

Buying MainOne, with a base in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, gives Equinix an entry point into an Africa that is currently experiencing a data center boom.

"Growth of data consumption in Africa is amongst the fastest in the world," said Equinix CEO Charles Meyers.

Africa's data center capacity has doubled in the last three years. But it still makes up just 1% of the globe's total data center capacity. Amazon and Microsoft have both invested in data center capacity on the continent in recent years.

Meyers's company, which now has the longest growth run of any S&P 500 company, is building on other recent big buys, which, even before this, had given the company 235 data centers in 27 countries and 65 metro regions.

But "Africa has been the missing piece in the Equinix jigsaw," said John Dinsdale, research director at Synergy Research Group.

"The demand for data center services in Africa is strong" and in Nigeria, "growth drivers include rapid mobile adoption, increased data consumption from its young population, good subsea and terrestrial connectivity, and a strong enterprise market," he says.

You're my MainOne

Funke Opeke founded the company of 500, which has three data centers up and running with a fourth joining it in the first three months of 2022.

MainOne also owns enough land to build another 10 data centers, in Equinix's view.

The company, which has annual revenue of around $60 million, numbers among its customers Google and Facebook. Opeke, who started the company in 2010 after noticing the poor internet connectivity Nigerians had to deal with after he returned from the US, will continue in his post as CEO.

Forbes named her one of the World's Top 50 Women in Tech in 2018. She lived in New York while studying engineering at Columbia University.

The all-cash transaction is expected to close in the first three months of next year, after receiving approval from regulators.

MainOne also has a 7,000 kilometer subsea network it owns and operates, stretching from Portugal to Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. In addition, it has a smaller terrestrial fiber network that runs 1,200 kilometers around Lagos, Edo and Ogun states.

Equinix that

In other busy buys at the shops, Equinix has also acquired two data centers in India, nabbed 13 Bell data centers in Canada for $780 million and opened a 2Africa subsea cable interconnection hub with Vodafone.

With its $575 million joint venture with PGIM real estate, it's building two Australian data centers in Sydney.

Nasdaq-listed Equinix appears to be looking to these massive footprint grabs to ensure revenue continues to grow – and for the moment, it looks like it might be able to do this.

Its $1.657 billion revenue in the third quarter was up 1% from the previous one.

For the full year, the company is guiding $6.614-$6.634 billion, which would be an increase of 10-11% over the previous year (8% on a constant currency basis).

Meanwhile, with Equinix stock up 12% this year, giving it a market capitalization of $71.7 billion, MainOne may not have done so badly out of the deal after all.

*Top image is of Funke Opeke, founder and CEO of MainOne. (Source: MainOne)

Related posts:

— Pádraig Belton, contributing editor, special to Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

World Mobile brings Wi-Fi hotspots to Zanzibar

Blockchain operator World Mobile is partnering with the Zanzibar eGovernment Agency to launch free Wi-Fi hotspots at public facing government institutions.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Morocco's Chari

Morocco's B2B e-commerce app, Chari, is allowing store owners to order anything they need for their stores and get it delivered in less than 24 hours.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Research Bites: Why ICT public access centers are struggling

By Cecilia Frans and Shaun Pather

This article – in produced in collaboration with the African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development – explores the reasons why African ICT public access centers are not finding success.

Story

Omdia View: October 2021

By Omdia Analysts

Across the Middle East and Africa, regulators are beginning to facilitate spectrum allocation to operators in the region for the deployment of new and innovative technology.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

Story

Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Story

How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Meeting SME’s where they are - Building inclusive ecosystems for Africa’s small business owners

Micro and small businesses have been, and still are, the spine and lifeblood of the African economy, making up 90% of businesses on the continent.

Many of these businesses have still been operating in traditional ways and serving non-digital customers. With Covid-19 expediting the digital transformation process, businesses - big and small - have been forced to adapt to operate successfully in a more digital-first environment.

To ensure that the digitalization of Africa’s market doesn’t leave micro and small businesses behind, digital solutions must be inclusive and create business-ready environments. But how can we ensure that African SMEs become digitally enabled?

In this webinar we will share from our own experience on how to create such an environment, and the actions we took in vcita to get there, including:

  • Closing the digital literacy gap through tech inclusion 
  • Making a positive impact on local communities
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world

Register Here >>

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up