Data centre M&As surge as companies turn to cloud providers

Figures show organisations increasingly don't want to own or operate their own facilities

Data centre

2019 is set to be another record year for data centre mergers and acquisitions, with 52 such deals being signed in the first six months, up 18% on the previous year.

A further eight deals have been closed during the past month alone, as well as a further 14 acquisitions awaiting formal closure, with the total number for 2019 now having exceeded the entirety of 2016.

Research by market analysis firm Synergy found that since the start of 2015, there have been over 300 M&As in the data centre space, said to be worth over $65 billion in total.

Data centre M&A closures since 2015

Synergy chief analyst John Dinsdale believes the figures represent a clear trend of companies not wanting to operate their own data centres, preferring instead to hand them off to specialists.

"As enterprises either shift workloads to cloud providers or use colocation facilities to house their IT infrastructure, more and more data centers are being put up for sale," said Dinsdale. "This in turn is driving change in the colocation market, with industry giants on a never-ending quest to grow their global footprint and a constant ebb and flow of ownership among small local players."

It's likely that this trend is going to continue as a small group of data centre operators seek to consolidate their hold on the market.

The majority of acquisitions during the 2015-19 period have involved Equinix, which famously acquired Verizon's data centres in 2017, and Digital Reality, which has been on a recent spending spree with facilities in Seoul and Frankfurt. The two colocation providers accounted for 36% of the total deal value over the period.

Data centre operators such as US-based CyrusOne, Iron Mountain, Digital Bridge, Carter Validus, as well as Japan's NTT, have all been on similar spending sprees in 2019.

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