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MainOne has data centers, undersea cable from Europe to Africa

Equinix Inc. is acquiring West African digital infrastructure firm MainOne Cable Co Ltd. at a valuation of $320 million, giving the U.S. data-center investor more exposure to booming connectivity in the region.

MainOne, founded by Nigerian entrepreneur Funke Opeke, is the owner of three data centers in the region with a fourth under construction. The company also has funding to lay a sub-sea cable stretching from Portugal to Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast.

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Ma. Funke Opeke

“With this deal, we are also acquiring additional land, probably enough to build another 10 data centers,” Judith Gardiner, Equinix vice president for emerging markets, said in an interview. “There is an expansion plan that will come online next year and we will be concentrating on the region.”

The cash transaction is the first move for Equinix into Africa, which has a predominantly young population with increasing access to the internet. For MainOne, the transaction provides it with access to capital and networks to bolster its expansion plans, said Opeke, who will still be heading the company.

Demand for data use and storage capacity in Africa is expected to grow three times faster than supply, according to Xalam Analytics.

MainOne generates about $60 million a year in sales and provides services to major tech firms including Amazon.com Inc., Google and Facebook Inc. Nasdaq-listed Equinix owns 237 data centers and operates in 27 countries.

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The transaction is expected to close at the end of the first quarter next year, subject to regulatory approvals.

Bloomberg

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