Equinix broadens its reach across Canada with $750M deal to buy 13 Bell data center sites

Equinix has broadened its horizons across Canada by buying 13 data centers from Bell (BCE) for $750 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of this year once it passes customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Equinix will gain more than 600 customers that are operating in the Bell data centers. Equinix said 500 of those 600 customers were net new customers. The acquired customers are across various verticals, including enterprise, cloud and IT, government and financial services.

The deal will expand Equinix's reach in Canada coast-to-coast, and make it among the market leaders in for Canadian data center and interconnection services. In addition to adding new capacity in Toronto, Ontario, where Equinix currently operates two International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers, it will extend Equinix's interconnection services to seven new metros including Calgary, Alberta; Kamloops and Vancouver, British Columbia; Millidgeville, New Brunswick; Montreal, Quebec; Ottawa, Ontario; and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

On the flip side, Equinix's expansion across Canada gives Canadian businesses the opportunity to offer their services and applications internationally to multinational corporations.

A part of the agreement, Equinix and Bell will form a strategic partnership to enable enterprises in Canada to leverage hybrid multi-cloud solutions to accelerate their digital transformations.  The joint offering will combine Bell's telecommunications services and technology expertise with Equinix's global platform of interconnected data centers and business ecosystems.

"Canadian businesses are in the midst of a significant transformation as they evolve their operations to be increasingly digital and cloud-enabled," said Equinix President and CEO Charles Meyers, in a statement. "This expansion is a significant win for Canadian businesses, as well as for multinational companies that can leverage Platform Equinix to increase their digital presence in Canada by interconnecting to a rich ecosystem of customers, business partners and other strategic companies in Canada."

As part of their digital transformations, enterprises and organizations of all stripes have been migrating their services and applications to clouds such as Oracle Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, among others. Digital transformations have accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic as businesses see the value of being able to pivot their services and applications to the cloud.

Equinix plans to eventually add its Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric) to all 13 data centers. ECX Fabric, which is an on-demand, software-defined enabled interconnection service, allows any business to connect between its own distributed infrastructure and any other company's distributed infrastructure.

Equinix is on the move

In January, Equinix announced it was buying bare metal data center company Packet. When the deal closed in March, Equinix said it had paid $335 million for Packet. Equinix announced in October that it was buying three data centers from Axtel for $175 million.

RELATED: Equinix buys bare metal data center company Packet

Also in October, Equinix announced it had completed the formation of a $1 billion joint venture with partner GIC, which is Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, to build and operate hyperscale data centers in Europe. 

Equinix is far and away the colocation market leader and one of the biggest spenders in that space. Over the past five years, the biggest deals to close were the acquisitions of Interxion and DuPont Fabros by Digital Realty, the acquisition of Global Switch by a group of Chinese investors and the acquisitions of Verizon data centers and Telecity by Equinix, according to Synergy Research Group (SRG.)

RELATED: In just four months, data center M&A deals surpass 2019 levels

Over the 2015-2020 period, the largest investors, by a wide margin, have been Digital Realty and Equinix, which are the world’s two leading colocation providers. In aggregate they accounted for 35% of total deal value over the period. SRG has previously said it expects 2020 to be a bumper year for data center M&A activity.