Asian investors eye stake in £4.4bn UK data centre

Half of Global Switch is currently on the block, with a Chinese IT giant and a state-owned aviation firm said to be in talks with the asset’s parent company.

London-based data centre operator Global Switch has confirmed that discussions are ongoing for a potential strategic investment in the company. 

Aldersgate Investments, Global Switch’s parent group, is in talks with “a consortium of high-quality private sector Asian investors about a potential investment which will allow Global Switch to continue to unlock access to the fast-growing telecommunications and internet markets in Asia,” the company said in a statement. 

“While discussions are ongoing, no transaction has yet been concluded,” it added.

Global Switch has a value estimated at £4.4 billion ($5.87 billion; €5.26 billion), on top of which come about £800 million in debt. One of the world’s largest data centre businesses, its operations span Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Paris, Singapore and Sydney. As much as half of the business is currently up for sale.

Owned by British billionaires David and Simon Reuben, Aldersgate is reportedly in talks with a consortium led by Daily Tech, a Chinese data centre giant that provides space for internet servers to corporate players like Alibaba Group. Daily Tech is joining forces with a number of investors including Avic Trust, a subsidiary of state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China, reports say.

Should the consortium proceed with the investment, there will be no change to the management or strategic direction of Global Switch, the company said. Aldersgate and the new shareholders will exercise joint control of the company.

Global Switch would continue to provide data centre services that comply with guidance issued by the UK Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure as part of the UK Government’s national security strategy, it said in the statement.