Inside a Switch data center Switch
Inside a Switch data center

Data Center Provider Switch Files for IPO

Plans to trade on NYSE as 'SWCH'; multi-class stock structure means founder and CEO Roy would retain control

Data center provider Switch has filed for an initial public offering. If the IPO proceeds as planned, its shares will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SWCH.”

If successful, the IPO would make Switch the eighth US-based publicly traded data center provider, joining Equinix, Digital Realty Trust, CoreSite, QTS, CyrusOne, Iron Mountain, and DuPont Fabros Technology. DuPont Fabros shares, however, will seize being listed on NYSE if the company's $4.95 billion acquisition by Digital Realty, announced earlier this year, closes.

The company did not disclose the amount of money it hopes to raise through the offering or the amount of shares it plans to float in the documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission Friday. A company spokesperson declined to comment because the company is in a “quiet period” prior to the IPO.

Las Vegas-based Switch operates a massive data center campus in its hometown. It also recently launched first buildings on what it expects to eventually become large data center campuses outside of Reno, Nevada, and outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and announced plans to build a campus in Atlanta.

Switch also owns 50-percent stakes in Supernap International, a joint venture that so far has built data centers in Italy and Thailand.

Its current total US data center capacity is 415MW; together with planned facilities, the company expects to reach 770MW.

In the filing, the company said it currently has 800 customers, eBay being its largest one. The online marketplace and its affiliates accounted for 13 percent of Switch’s 2016 revenue, which was $318.4 million.

The company’s 2013 revenue was $166.8 million, meaning its compound annual growth rate has been 24 percent over the last three years.

Switch is known for a focus on flashy and energy efficient data center design, attributing all electrical, mechanical, and building-structure innovations to its founder, chairman, and CEO Rob Roy. Recently, the company also made a series of large investments in renewable energy for its data centers, which earned it top grades on Greenpeace’s green data center report card earlier this year, and committed to powering all its operations with 100 percent renewable energy.

The company plan is to create a multi-class share structure, where Class A common stock will trade on NYSE; while Class B common stock is held by those who own direct and indirect interest in the company before the IPO; and Roy holds Class C stock. Class A and Class B stock holders will have one vote per share, while Roy’s Class C stock will command 10 votes per share, enabling him to retain control of the company.

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