The Carlyle Group has decided to acquire about 25% stake in Airtel’s data centre business, Nxtra Data, for $ 235 million (about Rs 1,780 crore), the company said in a statement today. This will peg the enterprise valuation of Nxtra at $ 1.2 billion which is over Rs 9,084 crore.
On completion of the deal, Carlyle will hold about 25% stake in the business with Airtel continuing to hold the remaining stake of about 75%.
“Bharti Airtel and Comfort Investments II, an affiliated entity of CAP V Mauritius Limited, an investment fund managed and advised by affiliated entities of the Carlyle Group, today announced an agreement under which Comfort Investments II will invest $ 235 million in Nxtra Data Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Airtel engaged in the data centre business,” a Bharti Airtel statement said.
“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.