Carlyle Group to acquire 25% stake in Airtel's Data Centre business

Airtel will continue to hold the remaining stake of approximately 75%, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
The Carlyle Group on Wednesday announced that it will invest $235 million for approximately 25 per cent stake in Nxtra Data Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bharti Airtel engaged in the data centre business.

The post-money enterprise valuation of Nxtra is approximately $1.2 billion and Carlyle will hold a stake of approximately 25% in the business upon completion of the transaction, with Airtel continuing to hold the remaining stake of approximately 75%, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

The transaction is subject to the necessary regulatory approvals, including approval from the Competition Commission of India.

Headquartered in New Delhi, Nxtra offers secure data centre services to leading Indian and global enterprises, hyperscalers, start-ups, SMEs and governments. Nxtra’s nation-wide portfolio of 10 large data centres and more than 120 edge data centres provides customers with co-location services, cloud infrastructure, managed hosting, data backup, disaster recovery, and remote infrastructure management.
"Rapid digitisation has opened up a massive growth opportunity for data centres in India and we plan to accelerate our investments to become a major player in this segment. We are delighted to have Carlyle as a strategic partner in this exciting journey, particularly given their experience in this industry, and look forward to working with them," said Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

Neeraj Bharadwaj, Managing Director of the Carlyle Asia Partners advisory team, said, “India is set to become one of the largest markets in the world for digital services. Airtel, with its proven track record of solid execution and customer focus, is well positioned to leverage the potential growth of data centres in India. We look forward to collaborating with Airtel to unlock the full potential of Nxtra.”

US-based Carlyle has prior experience in data centre ownership through investments in Coresite in the US and Itconic in Spain.

Nxtra, which is building multiple large data centres across India, will use the proceeds from the deal to scale up its infrastructure, the companies said.

India is seeing a surge in demand for data centres as more businesses choose cloud computing, and consumer demand for digital services such as smartphone entertainment continues to grow, they added.

Cloud and entertainment services represent the next revenue frontier for traditional telecom carriers like Airtel, as voice and data rates in India remain among the cheapest in the world.

Airtel's local rival Jio, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has a cloud tie-up with Microsoft, under which it will build data centers hosted on Microsoft's Azure cloud.

(With inputs from Reuters)



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