Nigeria’s MainOne has been acquired by Equinix for $320 million.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, pending the fulfilment of standard closing conditions, including regulatory clearances.

The transaction is valued at $320 million and is expected to be AFFO accretive once completed, excluding integration costs. It is the first step in Equinix’s long-term strategy to become Africa’s leading carrier neutral digital infrastructure company.

Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people, is Africa’s largest economy and, along with Ghana, has established itself as a data center powerhouse. Equinix will be able to enter the continent through this acquisition.

MainOne is one of the most intriguing technological companies to come from Africa, according to Equinix.

Founded in 2010 by Funke Opeke, the company has provided connection for Nigeria’s business community and presently has digital infrastructure assets, including three operational data centers and one under development that will open in Q1 2022.

These facilities will contribute over 64,000 gross square feet to Platform Equinix® upon completion, with 570,000 square feet of land available for future expansions.

MainOne owns and runs a subsea network that stretches from Nigeria to Portugal, as well as a 1,200-kilometer terrestrial fiber network that stretches across southern Nigeria. All of this is enhancing connectivity to and from Europe, West African countries, and Nigeria’s key commercial communities. When complete, this transaction will expand Platform Equinix’s reach into West Africa, offering businesses both inside and outside of Africa access to one of the world’s fastest-growing marketplaces.

“The acquisition of MainOne will offer a vital point of entry for Platform Equinix into the wide and fast rising African market,” stated Charles Meyers, President and CEO of Equinix. MainOne’s strong interconnection position and experienced management team are valuable advantages in our quest to become Africa’s leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure. Africa has one of the fastest-growing data consumption rates in the world, and our customers are searching for a reliable partner to help them capitalize on the potential given by widespread mobile use and increased connectivity in the region. Platform Equinix will benefit from MainOne’s infrastructure, customer relationships, partner ecosystem, and operational capacity, which will broaden Platform Equinix’s reach and provide options for clients in Africa and around the world.”

The management team, including CEO Funke Opeke, will continue to serve in their current positions under the terms of the agreement.

Opeke graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in engineering and was named one of Forbes’ World’s Top 50 Women in Tech in 2018 for her work in encouraging internet use. She’s also been named one of Data Center Magazine’s Top 10 Women to Watch in the Data Center Industry.

Synergy Research Group’s main analyst and research director, John Dinsdale, also commented:

“Africa has long been a missing piece in Equinix’s puzzle, and the acquisition of MainOne will be a fantastic first step into the continent.” Data center services are in high demand in Africa, with Nigeria in the hub of West Africa’s exponential economic boom. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous and economically powerful country, with growing mobile uptake, increased data consumption from its young population, good subsea and terrestrial connections, and a strong enterprise sector among its growth drivers. This is helping the region move toward a more digital economy by spurring data center building and expansion to meet the region’s growing demand for digital infrastructure.”

“Equinix will expedite our long-term strategy to increase digital infrastructure investments across Africa,” says Funke Opeke, founder and CEO of MainOne. I’d like to thank our original shareholders, led by Mr. Fola Adeola, MainStreet Technologies, AFC, PAIDF, FBN, Polaris, and the African Development Bank (AfDB), for believing in the MainOne mission of bridging Africa’s digital divide. Equinix is the choice partner for our expansion journey, with values and culture that are identical to what we have established together over the past twelve years. The MainOne team is delighted about the new collaboration formed as a result of the acquisition, and we look forward to working together to write our next chapter.”

“Expansion in Africa has always been a strategic objective for us,” says Eugene Bergen, president of Equinix EMEA. We have identified a company in MainOne that not only has very complementary data center and networking assets, but can also help us expand our business model and achieve our growth goals.

“CEO Funke Opeke and her team have created a powerful and dynamic infrastructure that will provide international customers with access to Africa and African enterprises with access to the global Equinix platform.” Customers may use Equinix’s world-class global connectivity services to connect with customers and partners, participate in rich digital ecosystems, and expand their businesses across Africa and the globe.”

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