NTT finds partner to help accelerate datacenter builds in Europe, North America

Asset management outfit Macquarie will buy existing bit barns. But first, check out the shiny new 15.2MW bit barn in Indonesia

Japanese giant NTT has found a friend to help it fund the planned expansion of its datacenter fleet.

That partner is Australia's Macquarie Asset Management – an outfit that already has $545.7 billion in assets in its tender care.

The new deal will see Macquarie spend around $800 million to take a majority position in the companies that own NTT's datacenters in North America and Europe. NTT will retain stakes of between 25 and 49 per cent in those entities.

Macquarie gets assets that it expects will turn a profit, while NTT gets a cash injection to help fund its datacenter expansion plan. That plan calls for NTT to build 13 new datacenters across Europe in the next two years and expand others. A facility set to open in Phoenix, Arizona, this year will be its seventh in the USA on a campus that will start with 36MW of capacity but has already been scoped out to handle 240MW of kit.

NTT is also expanding its datacenter footprint across Asia, and last week opened its first facility in Indonesia where a 15.2MW facility is planned to scale to 45MW.

The Japanese company's datacenter offerings are akin to those offered by Equinix and Digital Realty – it builds facilities with appropriately varied and resilient energy and connectivity services, then rents racks to all comers. That model makes acquisition of real estate important, but construction costs are modest compared to the kind of funds required to fill out a datacenter with computing equipment.

But the business still requires a lot of cash, and the deal with Macquarie will help on that front. The Australian company also has extensive asset management expertise, so NTT may have less administrivia to handle.

NTT currently ranks third behind Equinix and Global Realty in datacenter capacity stakes. Demand, however, is surging and this deal will help NTT to get its slice. The deal is not unusual, as NTT has already found similar partners to handle the real estate side of its affairs in some parts of Asia. ®

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