US-based Internet connectivity giant, Equinix, is currently in talks to acquire MainOne, a Nigerian internet company for $320 million. This is set to become the largest acquisition of a tech company in Nigeria and the first landmark deal made by an African woman tech CEO.
MainOne is best known for revolutionising the interest connectivity market in Africa. While the internet here comes from an elaborate network of communication devices that are usually run by governments and public companies, MainOne emerged in 2010 and changed the game.
Founded by engineer Funke Opeke in 2010, MainOne laid the first private submarine cable (7,000 kilometers) in Africa which connected West Africa with Portugal in Europe. The company also owns about 1,200 kilometers of terrestrial fiber which provides high-speed internet for 800 businesses in Lagos, Edo, and Ogun states.
MainOne also has a growing list of Tier 3 data facilities that are fully operational in Lagos, Accra, and Abidjan. These facilities provide access to key Internet exchanges that minimize latency when accessing the Internet.
This acquisition deal will provide Equinix with 64,000 gross square feet of space with another 570,000 square feet of land for future expansions. The deal will also provide MainOne with unfiltered access to Equinix’s 327 data centers located across 27 countries.
MainOne’s facilities reportedly generate annual revenue of about $60 million. So far, the company has raised over $240 million in funding, and it has been making significant strides in Africa’s digital ecosystem. With these being considered, there has been analysis that the $320 million acquisition is lower than expected for a company with MainOne’s background and potential, the CEO Funke Opeke believes that her company was bought at the right price. In an interview with TechCrunch, the founder said that the purchase wasn’t a distress sale and she and her team wholly agree with the offer.
“We’re very satisfied and pleased with the offer made by Equinix and the value they represented to the shareholders and the business going forward,” she said. In a statement, MainOne disclosed that Funke Opeke and other top management staff will still maintain their roles. Opeke believes this acquisition would hasten the company’s vision to advance digital infrastructure investments in Africa.
Part of the statement reads, “With similar values and culture to what we have jointly built in 12 years, Equinix is the preferred partner for our growth journey. The MainOne team is excited about the partnership created through the acquisition, and we look forward to building our next chapter together.” According to Equinix, this acquisition of MainOne will work as an expansion strategy for them into the African market.
“The acquisition of MainOne will represent a critical point of entry for Platform Equinix into the expansive and rapidly growing African market. MainOne’s leading interconnection position and experienced management team represent critical assets in our aspirations to be the leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure in Africa,” says Charles Meyers.
The acquisition is expected to be finalised by Q2 2022.