Telefonica sheds four more data centers

Telefonica inked a deal to sell four of its data centers to investment firm Asterion Industrial Partners in exchange for a 20% stake in the business that will run them, aiming to monetize its infrastructure assets while preserving access to a key growth opportunity.

The deal includes two data centers each in Spain and Chile, which have a combined service capacity of 9.9 megawatts. These will be operated by Asterion subsidiary Nabiax, which already manages nearly a dozen data centers Telefonica previously sold to Asterion in 2019. Telefonica will retain ownership and management of its servers hosted within the data centers.

Telefonica said in a press release the structure of the deal will allow it to “crystallize the value of its infrastructure assets, while preserving intact Telefónica’s commercial positioning, client relationships and leadership in cloud, hosting and housing services provided to corporate customers.” It added taking a stake in Nabiax will ensure it maintains “exposure to a global data center platform with attractive growth prospects.”

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The operator said it also plans to explore new business opportunities with Nabiax, spanning “new services, edge computing and data center automation.”

With approvals necessary from regulators in Spain and Chile, closing is expected to occur in two phases, though Telefonica did not provide a timeline for either. It is unclear how many data centers Telefonica will have after transaction wraps.

The deal comes as the operator pushes to execute on several strategic objectives, including efforts to reduce debt and realize value from its infrastructure assets. Earlier this year, Telefonica agreed to sell its tower business to American Tower for approximately $9.4 billion.

Telefonica sold 11 of its data centers to Asterion in May 2019 for €550 million ($669 million), with Nabiax created to manage these assets. The data centers included two each in Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Peru, and one each in Chile, Mexico and the U.S. They had a combined service capacity of 29 megawatts.

El Economista first reported a second deal between Telefonica and Asterion was in the works in February.