U.S.-based Equinix to Acquire Nigeria’s MainOne for $320m

Equinix announced on Tuesday that it will pay $320 million for MainOne, a West African data centre and connectivity solutions provider with operations in Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast.

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, assuming all customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, are met.

Equinix’s acquisition of MainOne follows several acquisitions by the global digital infrastructure player last year, including the $161 million purchase of GPX India and the $780 million purchase of 13 data centres from Bell Canada.

In a statement, Equinix acknowledged that the acquisition of MainOne was the first step toward becoming an African carrier-neutral digital infrastructure provider.

“With more than 200 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and, along with Ghana, has become an established data centre hub. This makes the acquisition a pivotal entry point for Equinix into the continent,” the company said in the statement.

Funke Opeke founded MainOne in 2010 after returning from the United States and noticing Nigerians’ poor internet connectivity.

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Opeke built MainOne, West Africa’s first privately owned high capacity undersea cable submarine, with over $200 million in equity and debt investment. The cable runs for 7,000 kilometres from Portugal to West Africa, stopping in Accra, Ghana, Dakar, Senegal, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Lagos, Nigeria.

Furthermore, MainOne owns and operates a 1,200-kilometer terrestrial fibre network in the southern Nigerian states of Lagos, Edo, and Ogun. 65 different points of presence (PoP) in Portugal, Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast provide access to terrestrial sites.

MainOne’s services are used by over 800 business-to-business clients. Major international technology companies, social media companies, global telecommunications operators, financial service providers, and cloud service providers are among them.

With three operational data centres already enabling connectivity for these businesses, MainOne plans to open an additional data centre in the first quarter of 2022, a move that coincides with Equinix’s acquisition.

With a staff of 500, MainOne says its facilities generate approximately $60 million in annual revenue with a purchase multiple of approximately 14x EBITDA.

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The facility will add 570,000 square feet of land to Equinix, as well as more than 64,000 gross square feet of space.

Equinix has 237 data centres in 27 countries around the world. Also, more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies use its data centres and interconnection services.

“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 finalised.

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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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