Less than two months after announcing an agreement to buy Hong Kong-based PCCW’s data centre business for $750 million, the fund manager formerly known as Colony Capital is consolidating its APAC server facility business under its Vantage Data Centers unit.
Vantage, which Colony took control of when it bought out DigitalBridge in 2017, announced on Friday that it is expanding into Asia Pacific through a pair of earlier acquisitions by DigitalBridge, with its major shareholder also leading a $1.5 billion financing round to help fuel the new initiative.
“Following successful expansions throughout the United States, Canada and Europe over the past three years, we are expanding to Asia Pacific to better serve customers on a global basis,” said Sureel Choksi, president and chief executive of Vantage Data Centers. “The key to our global expansion has been finding well-aligned partners who bring local expertise, an established footprint, a strong management team and the ability to scale quickly.”
Today’s announcement confirms that, following the expected completion of the PCCW acquisition during the fourth quarter of this year, DigitalBridge will be unifying that business with Agile Data Centers, a Singapore-based data centre network that the fund manager set up last year, when it was still known as Colony Capital.
Getting Online in APAC
Today’s announcement paves the way for Vantage to have its first operational data centres in Asia, to go with 14 facilities already online or under development in North America and Europe.
The PCCW portfolio includes seven data centres in Hong Kong that provide a combined 65MW of power, and a single mainland facility in Guangzhou with around 2.4MW. In Malaysia, the company owns a 6MW asset in Cyberjaya near Kuala Lumpur, and PCCW has another project under development in Hong Kong.
Agile Data Centers, which formed a joint venture with Goldman Sachs in January of this year, is developing three greenfield hyperscale campuses totalling 168MW in Tokyo, Osaka and Melbourne, the Denver-headquartered firm said Thursday in a release.
Vantage said that its $1.5 billion in capital to support the expansion came from DigitalBridge and other existing investors.
New Name Cards
Agile’s Seattle-based co-founder, Giles Proctor, has become president of Vantage’s APAC business, while Brian Groen, PCCW’s senior vice president for data centres, will join Vantage as senior vice president for APAC after the PCCW acquisition closes.
Jon Mauck, senior managing director of DigitalBridge Investment Management, said the firm recognised a strategic opportunity to combine the market penetration, expertise and strength of two portfolio companies, Vantage and Agile, with the established foothold of PCCW to serve customers in APAC.
NYSE-listed DigitalBridge was known as Colony Capital until a rebranding in June following the company’s $2.7 billion sale of its non-tech-related real estate funds business to Softbank-backed Fortress Investment Group. Controlled by billionaire founder Tom Barrack, DigitalBridge manages a $35 billion portfolio of digital infrastructure assets on behalf of limited partners and shareholders.
Spanning the Globe
In addition to its newly established APAC footprint, Vantage’s portfolio includes eight data centre campuses across North America and six in Europe, collectively providing more than 7 million square feet (650,000 square metres) of space and over 1 gigawatt of power capacity for hyperscale, cloud and large enterprise customers.
“The Vantage team has proven across North America and Europe that it is highly skilled at taking full advantage of both acquisitions and greenfield opportunities to quickly become a leading provider in new markets,” Mauck said.
CBRE this week predicted another record year for APAC data centre investment in 2021.
Direct data centre investment activity in Asia Pacific reached $1.8 billion in the first six months of the year, equivalent to 80 percent of full-year 2020 turnover, despite limited asset availability, the property services firm said in its Asia Pacific Data Centre Trends report.
“To access the sector, investors are advised to target disposals from telecommunications companies, which are among the major owners of data centres in the region and are increasingly looking to monetise their assets,” CBRE said.