Azrieli buys Green Mountain for $849mn
Yet another real estate investment conglomerate is diversifying into the data centre industry, attracted by the sector’s mixture of high-speed tech industry growth and the stability conferred by concrete real estate assets.
Israeli firm Azrieli Group, which focuses on property investment, has announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase Green Mountain, a Norwegian data centre firm known for sustainability, security, and high performance computing.
Azrieli will reportedly pay approximately $849.2mn for the Norwegian firm using funds raised through a debt raising process currently underway via an as-yet unsecured loan to the current majority shareholder in Green Mountain, Smedvig.
Danna Azrieli, Chairman of Azrieli Group, called the acquisition “a key milestone in realising Azrieli Group's strategy for building international operations in the data centre sector,” adding that “The combination of the operations in North America through Compass with the acquisition of Green Mountain in Europe will allow Azrieli Group to become a significant global player in this growing and developing arena.”
Founded back in 2009, Green Mountain currently owns and operates three colocation data centres in Norway, including its flagship facility DC1-Stavanger, which is located deep underground in a decommissioned NATO ammunition storage bunker, and is widely regarded as one of the most secure data centres on earth.
Green Mountain is also reportedly planning the construction of a 55,000 square metre hyperscale facility in the Haugaland Business Park in Gismarvik, and is working on its largest campus to date in the Kalberg Valley.
The Azriel Group reportedly intends to accelerate the company’s growth trajectory still further, hinting that the company “has future construction and development potential at these and additional sites of approximately 520 MW,” a significant increase over the current 24 MW of contracted capacity that Green Mountain currently has in place.
The Azriel Group added in its statement to the press that Green Mountain’s industry-leading sustainability bona fides were a key factor in its decision to acquire the company. Readily available renewable energy (Norway’s energy mix is 100% renewable) at some of the cheapest prices in Europe is key to the group’s expansion plans.
Azrieli added that the Norwegian data centre “sector represents the new income-producing real estate world and is experiencing high growth rates. We are making a significant investment in Europe through the acquisition of a high-quality platform with growth potential, experienced and knowledgeable management, and excellent assets.”
Microsoft hyperscale plans prompt Lab3 New Zealand launch
Lab3, an Australian cloud migration specialist, has announced it is launching in New Zealand after being prompted by a surge in demand for cloud services and Microsoft’s investment into hyperscale data centres.
The company, which was founded in 2017, has appointed David Boyes as Chief Executive Officer and Rich Anderson as Chief Operating Officer. According to Companies Office records, Boyes and Anderson each have a 10% share in Lab3’s New Zealand business. Commenting on cloud migration, Boyes said: “Across New Zealand, in government and every industry sector, organisations are looking to migrate to the cloud to modernise their technology environments.” He added that the Coronavirus pandemic was fuelling a “ need to tap into the power of data, facilitate remote work and meet public expectations of a virtual world.”
Chris Cook, Group CEO of Lab3 said the business was "first and foremost about client success" which drives the company’s product innovation and motivation to expand into New Zealand. “We look forward to working closely with Microsoft to deliver more for New Zealand clients,” he said.
Microsoft’s New Zealand hyperscale data centre investment plan
Microsoft’s investment into a hyperscale data centre region in New Zealand meant the resulting facilities will aim to provide several organisations with access to the security and scalability of a public cloud without sending data offshore.
Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand, said: “We’ve seen a tremendous acceleration in cloud migration over the past year as organisations have responded to global disruption and conversely, recognised the global opportunities a digital operation brings.
“Our research with IDC shows public cloud technologies are set to create 102,000 local jobs and add [NZ]$30 billion to the New Zealand economy over the next four years, so we’re delighted to welcome a partner of LAB3’s calibre to New Zealand, to help more organisations realise those gains even faster," she added.
Lab3’s clients include several fintech organisations, a global software vendor, Australian federal and state government agencies, and insurance and banking corporations. The company employs over 200 staff and has three advanced specialisations across migrations, Azure virtual desktop, and security.