II Tokyo: Colony Capital eyes Asia-Pacific investments

Colony Capital, which has pivoted to digital infrastructure after its 2019 acquisition of Digital Bridge, has several deals in Asia-Pacific in its pipeline.

Colony Capital is “very excited” about the opportunities for investing in digital infrastructure in Asia-Pacific, its chief executive told the Infrastructure Investor Tokyo Summit, as the firm begins to do its first deals in the region.

Marc Ganzi said the firm had recently completed its first deal in Asia-Pacific by making an investment in a data centre asset in Japan, without providing further details.

The firm’s first fund, Digital Colony Partners, closed on $4.05 billion in June 2019, one month before real estate investor Colony Capital acquired Ganzi’s Digital Bridge for $325 million. That acquisition saw Ganzi assume the role of Colony Capital chief executive, helping to oversee the firm’s transition from a traditional real estate investor to a digital infrastructure specialist.

“We tend to navigate away from auctions,” he says. “Most auctions are big fibre deals where people are being asked to invest 49 percent. That’s just not what we do. That’s a 6-8 percent return. That’s just not that interesting.

“We want to be the catalyst [to change a business] – we’re an active manager, it’s got to be a control investment for us, too.”

Ganzi said the total addressable market for digital infrastructure investments was continuing to grow rapidly, leading to an increase in Colony Capital’s pipeline.

Digital Colony Partners’ known assets include a $200 million investment in Latin American telecoms operator Andean Telecom Partners, a $275 million acquisition of Finnish broadcast tower operator Digita, UK telecoms platform Freshwave Group and Toronto-based Peer 1, a co-location services company.

An earlier version of this story has been edited after publication.