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Singapore Data Center Provider STT Eyes Europe, Buys Rest of Virtus

Executives' statements indicate broader European expansion plans

VIRTUS Data Centres has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of ST Telemedia Global Data Centres, following STT GDC's acqusition of Brockton Capital LLP's remaining stake in the UK-based data center company, the companies announced. STT GDC already had a 49 percent stake in VIRTUS, which it purchased from Brockton in 2015 for an undisclosed amount. A dollar amount was also not given for the most recent transaction.

"We are seeing a burgeoning demand for colocation in the UK and European data center market, and there is no better time than now to expand our presence there supporting our customers’ growth plans," STT GDC's chairperson, Sio Tat Hiang, said in a statement. "The acquisition reflects our commitment and continued confidence in the key UK and European economies. Through this acquisition, we hope to further cement our footprint in the UK, as well as accelerate growth for both STT GDC and VIRTUS."

Hiang's statement, as well as a more general company statement, indicate this probably signals plans for an eventual broader move into European markets: "STT GDC’s strategic investment will ensure that VIRTUS is well placed to execute on its strategic growth plans within the UK and in new European markets," the company statement said.

Currently, VIRTUS has six data centers, which are all located within the UK in close proximity to London.

Although Neil Cresswell, VIRTUS's CEO, didn't specifically mention European expansion in his statement, he did seem to leave the door open with reference to "same goals" and "growth plans."

"We are thrilled to deepen our relationship with STT GDC who share the same goals as us – to deliver world-class infrastructure and service to our customers, to be the top player in the market and to continue to grow the portfolio to meet the ever increasing customer demands," he said. "This transaction will help VIRTUS continue to thrive in our market and fuel our growth plans. With STT GDC’s continued support, VIRTUS remains committed to supporting our customers with flexible and cost-efficient solutions at scale."

Over the last several years, STT GDC has drastically strengthened its presence throughout Asia. According to the company's website, the company has 27 data center locations in China, 14 in India, and six in Singapore, offering a range of services that includes colocation, connectivity, and infrastructure management. Not all its locations are owned outright by STT GDC, however. For example, in 2014 it acquired 40 percent of the Chinese data center giant GDS Services as the result of a partnership agreement.

Last year, STT GDS acquired a majority stake in the data center business of Tata Communications in Singapore and India.

With a strong position in Asia, it would only be natural for the company to now be looking at expansion markets.

Those who've been around a while might remember that STT GDC's parent company, ST Telemedia (a subsidiary of the Singapore government-owned investment company Temasek Holdings), once had something of a data center presence here in the US. In 2000, the company launched a data center subsidiary, i-STT, which by way of a merger became the largest shareholder in Equinix until it divested from the company.

Simon Samuels, a partner with seller Brockton Capital, said, "VIRTUS has experienced rapid growth in the last few years and we are extremely pleased with the company’s performance. We have enjoyed a fantastic partnership with STT GDC and are proud of the development of the VIRTUS business to where it is today. We are confident the business is in good hands to continue its trajectory in a high growth market."

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