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Liberty Global heads for the edge with Digital Colony JV

Liberty Global has partnered with digital infrastructure investment outfit Digital Colony to create a new European edge data centre business, AtlasEdge Data centres.

AtlasEdge will deliver services via a network of facilities located close to the edge of the network to serve growing demand from cloud providers, streaming services and enterprises for facilities through which they can distribute low-latency applications and services such as 5G, gaming, IOT and edge compute.

The pair believe that movement of data traffic to the edge of the network will mean that edge connectivity will be increasingly relevant.

Liberty Global will contribute digital infrastructure assets, including its technical real estate portfolios, at levels consistent with European digital infrastructure valuations, and will also provide strategic and operational support to the business.

Digital Colony will provide operating expertise, strategic direction and capital to support the significant growth and consolidation opportunity in edge co-location services across Europe.

Josh Joshi, the former CFO of data centre outfit Interxion, will join and lead AtlasEdge’s board as executive chairman.

AtlasEdge will be supported by anchor tenancies from Liberty Global operating companies in four European countries: Virgin Media in the UK and in Ireland, Sunrise-UPC in Switzerland and UPC in Poland. It will also provide infrastructure services to third parties at the edge with a focus on performance, low-latency, scalability, and quality of experience, according to Liberty Global.

The creation of the proposed JV is subject to receipt of customary regulatory and merger control approvals. Liberty Global and Digital Colony expect the transaction to close in Q3.

Mike Fries, CEO Liberty Global, said: “Combining Liberty Global’s technical real estate and track record in building successful, sustainable businesses with Digital Colony’s expertise in digital infrastructure investment creates an exciting platform for growth that will deliver long-term value. The proposed joint venture presents significant growth opportunities as we look to build this business into a leading European edge data centre operator. Furthermore, since several of our operating companies will become anchor tenants, Liberty Global customers will also benefit from better and more responsive services.”

Marc Ganzi President and CEO of Colony Capital and CEO of Digital Colony, said: “We are excited to be partnering with Liberty Global on the development of AtlasEdge. The proposed joint venture will unlock the growth potential of Liberty’s digital real estate holdings and capitalize on the emerging demand we are seeing for edge compute across Europe. It’s an opportunity for us to apply the entire Digital Colony value-add playbook, leveraging our operating expertise, strategic M&A capabilities, and access to institutional capital in partnership with a world-class organization like Liberty Global. I also know AtlasEdge will benefit from Josh Joshi’s insights and network across the digital infrastructure landscape.”