On December 7, Equinix Inc. announced expansion into Africa through its intended acquisition of MainOne, the leading West African broadband infrastructure company, with occupancy in Nigeria, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire, at an enterprise value of $320 million.
This acquisition by Equinix Inc. acknowledged as the first step towards a long-term strategy to becoming an African carrier neutral digital infrastructure was not the first, as last year saw its expansion into India by acquiring GPX India for $161 million, and the acquisition of 13 data centres from Bell Canada for $780 million.
Equinix’s acquisition of MainOne, following the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, is predicted to be closed by the first quarter of 2022. MainOne’s CEO and founder is set to remain at the helm of the company after the acquisition
What is Equinix Inc.?
To be the world’s digital infrastructure company means powering the world’s digital leaders or to “interconnect industry-leading organizations in finance, manufacturing, mobility, transportation, government, healthcare, and education across a cloud-first world.”
Founded in 1998 in Silicon Valley, Equinix started as a vendor-neutral multi-tenant data provider where networks could connect securely and share data traffic. Today, Equinix gives businesses access to all they need, the right partners, opportunities, places, to boost their advantage to launch digital services, deliver an A1 user experience and increase their value. Internationally, Equinix has a total of 237 data centres across 27 countries, while also providing a range of 10,000 including 50% of Fortune 500 companies of the world’s leading businesses with interconnection services.
In a press release, the president and CEO of Equinix stated, “the acquisition of MainOne will represent a critical point of entry for Equinix into the expansive and rapidly growing African market. MainOne’s leading interconnection position and experienced management team represent a critical asset in our aspiration to be the leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure in Africa.”
A bit about MainOne
MainOne is a broadband infrastructure company that provides telecom services and network solutions across West Africa. It was founded in 2008 and launched in 2010 by its current CEO Funke Opeke after she noticed the poor internet connectivity Nigerians had little or no access to. Ms Opeke started MainOne with over 200 million USD in equity and debt investment.
MainOne became West Africa’s first privately owned open access undersea high capacity cable, which was measured at 7,000kilometers stretching from Portugal to West Africa with landings along Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria. Its services are used by over 800 businesses and include major social media companies, global telecoms operators, cloud service providers, and financial service companies. A bid to expand into more data operational facilities coincides with the acquisition by Equinix.
CEO and Founder MainOne, Funke Opeke; a true visionary
To talk about the Nigerian and African tech industry without mentioning the name Funke Opeke would be a huge error. With a background in Electrical Engineering (Bachelors and Masters) Funke Opeke picked up a career in ICT in the US with Verizon Communications, worked with MTN as chief technical officer and chief operating officer with NITEL once back in Nigeria. She then went ahead to start up Mainstreet Technologies, the parent company responsible for the development of MainOne Cable Company which has gone on to become West Africa’s leading communications service and network solutions, provider. This was also a result of her desire to add value to her home country, Nigeria. She owns three data centres in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Ms Opeke rebutted the question about the handover being a distress sale as she expresses excitement about the acquisition by Equinix. She describes it as a fantastic story that enables MainOne to grow as part of a global platform and have access to additional investment capabilities and offer technology and solutions to global customers whose appetite for doing business in the African regions increase daily.
The Founder and CEO expresses hopes that other female founders and young women consider careers in tech, and this shows them that exiting is achievable.