Contact: Ben Kolada, Thejeswi Venkatesh
In its latest geographic consolidation move, colocation giant Equinix announced on Wednesday the acquisition of Frankfurt-based ancotel. Although previously an atypical acquirer, the ancotel buy is Equinix’s second purchase this month, following the pickup of certain assets from Hong Kong-based Asia Tone for $230m. Equinix recently said its dealmaking isn’t done yet. At the Deutsche Bank Securities Media & Telecommunications Conference in February, the company said it plans to place more emphasis on M&A.
Equinix didn’t disclose the price of the acquisition, but did say the valuation is in line with its projected 2012 adjusted EBITDA trading multiple. With a current enterprise value of $9.7bn, Equinix itself is valued at 11 times this year’s projected adjusted EBITDA. Assuming ancotel’s cost structure is similar to Equinix’s, we’d loosely estimate the deal value at $100-110m. Ancotel generated $21.4m in revenue in 2011, with a three-year CAGR north of 20%. The transaction adds a datacenter with 2,100 meters of capacity, 400 network customers, 200 new networks and 6,000 cross connects. Ancotel also has a presence in both London and Hong Kong.
In a departure from its usual practice of making just one acquisition per year, Equinix recently indicated that it intends to use more M&A to fuel growth. The company already dominates the American colocation market, so future M&A activity will likely continue to be overseas. Equinix has a lofty goal of being in 50 markets in the long term, with immediate priorities being India and China. The company has also expressed interest in growing its presence in South Korea and Australia.
Equinix’s international M&A, past five years
|May 16, 2012
|May 1, 2012
||Asia Tone (certain assets)
|February 15, 2011
||ALOG Data Centers*
||Rio de Janeiro
|February 6, 2008
||Virtu Secure Webservices
|June 28, 2007
|January 10, 2007
||VSNL International (Tokyo datacenter)
Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase *90% stake
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Contact: Ben Kolada
Although the US hosting, cloud and colocation markets are still growing, cloud infrastructure providers are already expanding overseas. This international expansion is driven in part by enterprises demanding global cloud platforms, as well as the vendors’ desire to tap into emerging markets.
Verizon Communications’ Terremark Worldwide purchase seemingly set the stage for international expansion (although the telco was primarily attracted to Terremark’s cloud platform, the deal also provided Verizon with deeper penetration in Central and South America), and colocation and hosting providers soon followed suit. Shortly after the Terremark sale, Savvis announced a partnership in India with Bharti Airtel and claimed to be looking for similar partnerships in South America and China. Meanwhile, Savvis competitor Equinix has already moved into South America with the $127m pickup of Rio de Janeiro-based ALOG Data Centers. The company also has a presence in China with facilities in Hong Kong and through a partnership in Shanghai with Shanghai Data Solutions.
While international expansions will continue, we expect that the announcements will eventually turn from partnerships to outright acquisitions as cloud infrastructure providers look to get the most out of their investments. Equinix has already shown a willingness to make international deals, and we anticipate that the company will announce additional overseas transactions. The company could make further inroads in China by entering the Beijing market. My colleagues at Tier1 Research believe that large cities in China such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin are underpopulated with datacenters and predict that these cities will see significant datacenter investment over the next five years.