In a single morning, the list of the largest data center deals has been remade, with new entries at the top to reflect today’s acquisitions of CyrusOne and CoreSite. The previous top entry,  the buyout of QTS Realty Trust for $10 billion by Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, happened earlier this year.

These type of major M&A deals were among the trends DCF highlighted in our 2021 forecast (Eight Trends That Will Shape the Data Center in 2021), in which we predicted “a big year for data center mergers and acquisitions, including some larger transactions.”

These merger deals continue to reshape the digital infrastructure landscape, helping industry leaders grow faster while enabling the creation of new operating platforms. The current round of M&A and consolidation has been underway for about five years, amid a historic influx of investor capital for digital infrastructure. Acquisitions can accomplish a number of objectives in the growth trajectory of a company.

The Billion-Dollar Transactions

Here’s a look at the M&A action over the last five years, through the lens of billion-dollar deals where the sale-price has been publicly disclosed. This list isn’t exhaustive, as it doesn’t include a number of major M&A deals involving private firms, where the sale price has not been disclosed.

  • $15 Billion: Investment giants KKR and Global Infrastructure Partners will acquire data center developer CyrusOne for $15 billion, taking the company private
  • $10.1 Billion: American Tower Corporation will buy data center developer CoreSite for $10.1 billion, making a bold move into the data center business. American Tower is the world’s largest owner of wireless infrastructure.
  • $10 Billion: Blackstone Infrastructure Partners acquires QTS Realty Trust (pending, 2021)
  • $8.4 Billion: Digital Realty acquires European data center specialist Interxion in 2019, adding scale in Europe and kick-starting a sharper focus on interconnection services.
  • $7.8 Billion: Digital Realty purchases wholesale rival DuPont Fabros Technology in 2017, giving it a dominant position in Ashburn, the largest hyperscale market..
  • $5.3 Billion: In the first SPAC deal for the data center industry, GS Acquisition Holdings acquires data center equipment vendor Vertiv. As a public company, Vertiv’s shares have surged since the 2020 deal to boost the company’s market value to $9.75 billion.
  • $3.8 Billion: Equinix expands into Europe in a huge way by buying TelecityGroup and its 40 data centers and 1,000 net new customers (2016).
  • $3.6 Billion: In 2016, Equinix acquires a portfolio of 24 Verizon data centers, including the strategic NAP of the Americas facility in Miami.
  • $3.4 Billion: In a SPAC deal in 2021, Starboard Value Acquisition Corp. buys Cyxtera. which becomes a public company.
  • $2.8 Billion: In 2016, CenturyLink sells 57 data centers to Medina Capital Management and BC Partners, who use the facilities to create Cyxtera.
  • $1.7 Billion: In an East Meets West deal between regional players, Peak Ten buys ViaWest, leading to the creation of a new national network that rebrands as Flexential. 
  • $1.3 Billion: Singapore’s Mapletree Industrial Trust buys a portfolio of 29 data centers from Sila Realty Trust (formerly Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT), boosting Mapletree’s presence in the U.S. data center market.
  • $1.3 Billion: In 2017, Iron Mountain makes the largest of a series of acquisitions, buying IO Data Centers.
  • $1.1 Billion: Evoque Data Center Solutions is formed from the $1.1 billion acquisition of a portfolio of 31 AT&T colocation centers by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (2019).

What’s missing? The private transactions with the scale and strategic impact to make the list likely include Digital Bridge’s acquisition of Vantage Data Centers, the EQT Infrastructure deal to buy EdgeConneX, Macquarie’s majority investment in Aligned, and NTT Communications’ two-step acquisition of RagingWire Data Centers.

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