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France’s Ardian acquires data centre provider Verne Global from UK’s Digital 9

Written by Thu 30 Nov 2023

Ardian has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of data centre provider, Verne Global, from British investment firm, Digital 9 Infrastructure. 

Ardian said it will assist Verne Global in realising an expansion plan in the Nordics. This will be led by CEO at Verne Global, Dominic Ward.

The French private equity firm recognised the Nordics as one of the most rapidly growing areas for data centres. The region is backed by a focus on sustainable practices such as low-carbon energy and robust international connectivity.

“Verne Global aims to deliver sustainable data centre solutions that enable organisations to cost-effectively scale their digital infrastructure while reducing their environmental impact,” said Ward.

Verne Global’s facilities offer 9.6MW in London, over 100MW in Iceland, and 25MW in Finland, which is expandable to 90MW.

“Verne Global continues Ardian’s strategy of investing in a balanced portfolio of infrastructure with scope for growth and attractive returns,” said Juan Angoitia Grijalba and Benoît Gaillochet, Co-Heads of Infrastructure Europe at Ardian.

Verne Global’s data centres provide highly specialised data centre services for organisations running high-performance computing workloads, notably artificial intelligence, machine learning, and large language models.

“With Ardian’s support, Verne is well positioned to capitalise on global digitalisation trends such as the accelerating use of AI and machine learning,” said Gonzague Boutry, William Briggs, and Pauline Thomson from the Infrastructure Team at Ardian.

Closing of the transaction is subject to the receipt of merger control and foreign direct investment clearance which is expected by the end of Q1 2024.

Digital 9’s sale of data centre provider Verne Global

On 27 November, Reuters reported that Digital 9 Infrastructure had initiated a strategic review of its portfolio and agreed to sell its stake in Verne Global for £453 million ($575 million).

Digital 9 reportedly looked to cut debt and boost the company’s finances. The disposal of Verne Global will generate funds of about £300 million ($379 million).

The investment firm planned to reduce its existing credit facility with the funds. The company said it will also explore options to enhance and optimise value for its shareholders.

Earlier this month, Digital 9 said it was considering a divestment of its Verne Global shareholding and had received indicative offers.

Digital 9 said it also planned to assess and potentially adjust the skills and composition of its board as part of its ongoing review.

The FTSE-250 company stated initiating a strategic review before finalising the Verne Global deal might have adversely impacted the efforts to maximize shareholder value, particularly in relation to the Verne Global transaction.

The FTSE-250 said such a review will not directly contribute to addressing its financial uncertainty.

In 2021, Digital 9 acquired Verne Global in a deal valued at approximately £231 million ($292 million) in cash.

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Written by Thu 30 Nov 2023

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