The rumors of a German move by NTT didn’t take long to turn into reality. Last night the Japanese giant announced plans to acquire a majority stake in e-shelter, suddenly claiming the #3 slot in the European data center market.
The price tag for e-shelter and its 8 data centers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland came to $840M, which will buy them some 86.7% of the company’s shares. They will be moving in with or replacing the existing owners: the private equity firm ABRY Partners and the German real estate developer Investa Holding GmbH, which is controlled by e-shelter’s founder and CEO. Investa at least will remain on with a minority stake.
Along with RagingWire in the US last year, Gyron in the UK, NetMagic in India, and Digital Port Asia in Thailand, NTT has been assembling a global data center asset base. Forbes calls it a roll-up, but I think it’s more of a quick land grab. NTT wants control of the colo space it sees as the base infrastructure of its cloud-based future, along with the local knowledge and talent to run it. To get it, they’re acquiring 80%+ interests in the properties they want while keeping current owners in the game, and thus securing the necessary foothold for the expansion of their cloud-based corporate focus.
Thus far, the network NTT connects all this infrastructure with tends to be on leased waves and such (outside of its home turf in Japan and the Pacific). But I do wonder if there’s a point at which they make a move on fiber in either the US or Europe to go with all this colo.
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