Axa IM "close to sale" of European tech giant

AXA IM, Brookfield Asset ManagementBrookfield Asset Management is reportedly winning the race to buy Europe’s largest independent data centre operator from Axa Investment Managers – and could seal the deal this week.

Reuters has learned the Canadian investment giant is in exclusive talks to acquire a majority stake in Paris-based DATA4, which also has sites in Italy, Spain, Luxembourg and Poland.

It is thought the deal could value the tech firm at close to €3.5 billion, including debt.

Brookfield is reported to have beaten competition from rival bidders in an auction held last week by Axa IM.

Axa IM had already owned 37% of the tech firm since 2012, when it bought the remaining 63% for an undisclosed sum in 2018 from Colony Capital, which founded it in 2006.

The French company’s investment arm has since sold a 20% stake in DATA4 to Danish pension fund PFA.

The unnamed source told Reuters that negotiations and financing agreements are set to continue today as Brookfield closes in on a takeover but that it is not a done deal yet.

Brookfield, DATA4 and Axa IM have all declined to comment.

DATA4 operates dozens of data centres in Europe and regularly invests in new sites and infrastructure.

Investment interest in data centres has spiked as the inflation-adjusted contracts many of them enjoy have made them attractive assets in an environment of soaring prices.

The mooted DATA4 sale follows recent reports that Swedish private equity firm EQT is in talks to buy Chinese-owned and UK-based data centre provider Global Switch in a deal that could top €7.4 billion, including debt.

In February, EQT acquired one of the UK’s fastest-growing vehicle charging companies – InstaVolt – from private equity group Zouk Capital.

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