Liberty Global and the global investment firm Digital Colony have entered into a joint venture to create a European Edge data centre business.
Known as AtlasEdge, it will deliver services via an extensive network of facilities located close to consumer and enterprise end users, the “edge” of the network. The company aims to serve the growing demand from cloud providers, streaming services and enterprises for high-performance, scalable and secure facilities through which they can distribute low-latency applications and services such as 5G, gaming, IOT and edge compute.
Liberty Global will contribute digital infrastructure assets, including its technical real estate portfolios, at levels consistent with European digital infrastructure valuations. It will also provide strategic and operational support to the business. Meanwhile, Digital Colony will provide operating expertise, strategic direction and capital to support the significant growth and consolidation opportunity in edge co-location services across Europe.
The creation of the proposed JV is subject to receipt of customary regulatory and merger control approvals. Liberty Global and Digital Colony expect the transaction to close in Q3 2021.
Upon closing, Josh Joshi will join and lead AtlasEdge’s board of directors as executive chairman. He has over 20 years of experience building value in the digital infrastructure sector, holding senior positions at several multinational companies including CFO of Interxion, a leading provider of carrier and cloud-neutral data centre solutions across EMEA. He will support the strategic growth of AtlasEdge with a focus on building the organisation as well as extending its reach across European markets.
AtlasEdge will be supported by anchor tenancies from Liberty Global operating companies in four European countries: Virgin Media in the UK and in Ireland, Sunrise-UPC in Switzerland and UPC in Poland. It will provide infrastructure services to third parties at the edge with a focus on performance, low-latency, scalability, and quality of experience.
Commenting on the JV, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said: “combining Liberty Global’s technical real estate and track record in building successful, sustainable businesses with Digital Colony’s expertise in digital infrastructure investment creates an exciting platform for growth that will deliver long-term value. The proposed joint venture presents significant growth opportunities as we look to build this business into a leading European edge data centre operator. Furthermore, since several of our operating companies will become anchor tenants, Liberty Global customers will also benefit from better and more responsive services”.
Marc Ganzi, president and CEO of Colony Capital and CEO of Digital Colony, added: “we are excited to be partnering with Liberty Global on the development of AtlasEdge. The proposed joint venture will unlock the growth potential of Liberty’s digital real estate holdings and capitalise on the emerging demand we are seeing for edge compute across Europe. It’s an opportunity for us to apply the entire Digital Colony value-add playbook, leveraging our operating expertise, strategic M&A capabilities, and access to institutional capital in partnership with a world-class organisation like Liberty Global. I also know AtlasEdge will benefit from Josh Joshi’s insights and network across the digital infrastructure landscape”.