Activist investor KKR buys 20 percent of Asian datacenter outfit
Owner of Cloudera and Barracuda likes the look of Singtel's portfolio
Global investment firm KKR will acquire a 20 percent stake in the regional datacenter business of major telecom conglomerate Singtel – a move intended to expand its Asian footprint.
An announcement [PDF] from Singtel on Monday said KKR has agreed to pay over US$806 million for the stake and will have the option to increase its stake by five percent at a pre-agreed valuation by 2027.
"This investment puts the enterprise value of Singtel's overall regional datacenter business at S$5.5 billion," the canned statement reads.
The proceeds from the sale will go toward datacenter expansion in Asia, capitalizing on expanded demand from digitalization and AI adoption.
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Demand for datacenter space in southeast Asia is expected to outpace the rest of the world over the next five years, and KKR and Singtel are betting on Singapore becoming a bigger player.
Singtel is already expanding capacity in Singapore – from 62MW to 120MW – and has partnered with telcos to build datacenters on the neighboring island of Batam, Indonesia, and in Bangkok, Thailand. The three expansions are expected to grow Singtel's total portfolio to 155MW by 2025 with the potential to grow to 200MW. The telco giant is also considering Malaysia as a potential datacenter site.
Singtel has previously sold off other parts of its portfolio to fund its ASEAN datacenter ambitions. Seventy percent of Singtel's Australia Tower Network (ATN) went up for sale in October 2021 to help fund its 5G rollout and improve its datacenter holdings.
Singtel said that in addition to adding capital, the collaboration with KKR enables it to tap into the firm's "expertise investing in datacenters and critical telecommunication infrastructure globally."
KKR has invested in a smattering of related infrastructure, including digital infrastructure platform Pinnacle Towers, datacenter operator CyrusOne, and liquid cooling solution specialist CoolITSystems.
In May, KKR inked a deal to acquire CoolIT in a bid said to be worth $270 million – a deal that will allow the liquid cooling gear vendor to scale up to cover global customers needing enterprise, high-performance computing (HPC), and cloud service providers.
KKR was also one of the early players pushing Toshiba towards a sale. It was an investor in Norway's Telenor fiber broadband unit, and is the owner of data platform Cloudera and security concern Barracuda.
KKR has over 690 private equity investments in portfolio companies with a total enterprise value of around $700 billion. ®