Israeli real estate developer Azrieli Group has growing ambitions in the data center sector. Azrieli has agreed to acquire Norwegian data center operator Green Mountain for about $850 million (NIS 2.8 billion), establishing a presence in the Nordics that will serve as a beachhead for further expansion in Europe.
The deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions in the data center industry in 2021.
Arieli is known in the digital infrastructure sector as one of the investors in Compass Datacenters, a U.S.-based private developer that builds wholesale data centers, and has helped back an international expansion for Compass. Azrieli operates a portfolio of shopping centers, office buildings and senior assisted housing, and sees the data center market as an opportunity to benefit from global growth in digital business.
“Acquiring Green Mountain is a key milestone in realizing Azrieli Group’s strategy for building international operations in the data centers sector,” said Danna Azrieli, Chairman of Azrieli Group. “The combination of the operations in North America through Compass with the acquisition of Green Mountain in Europe will allow Azrieli Group to become a significant global player in this growing and developing arena.
“After several years of the group’s operating in the field, I believe that the data centers sector will be another significant growth engine for Azrieli Group,” Azrieli added.
Azrieli Group said it will use Green Mountain to gain a larger foothold in the fast-growing data center market. “The company also intends to act in the future for expansion of Green Mountain’s current operations in the European market,” Azrieli said in announcing the deal.
A Focus on Making IT Greener
Green Mountain operates three data center campuses, and supports 24 megawatts of customer IT operations at its facilities in Stavanger, Telemark and Oslo. The company is known for its focus on sustainability, and designing data centers supported by 100 percent renewable hydropower.
Perhaps most importantly, Green Mountain has considerable room to grow, with the capacity to expand its data center campuses to add another 520 megawatts of capacity, a key feature for global investors with the capital to expand.
Its initial data center in Stavanger is built in a former NATO ammunition storage facility in a mountain, and uses cool water from a nearby fjord to support its cooling system. The fjord for a steady supply of water at 8 degrees C (46 degrees F), which is optimal for use in cooling servers.
In recent years, Green Mountain’s growth rate has reached some 50 percent annually, according to Azrieli, with customers in cloud computing and high-performance computing (HPC).
In recent months Green Mountain has developed several programs to use server waste heat to provide warmth and energy for local trout farms and lobster farms, reducing the carbon impact of these operations.