Canadian telco Shaw Communications is considering a sale of ViaWest, the data center services business it acquired for $1.2 billion just three years ago.
Shaw has retained Toronto-Dominion Bank to help it organize an auction for the business unit, for which it hopes to get significantly more than it paid, Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources. ViaWest operates about 30 data centers in the US.
The news comes the same week as two US telcos, separately, closed deals to sell off massive data center portfolios. Verizon Communications sold 29 data centers to colocation provider Equinix for $3.6 billion, and CenturyLink got $1.86 billion for 57 data centers sold to a group of private investors, who used the portfolio as the platform for a newly formed data center service provider called Cyxtera.
Like Shaw, Verizon and CenturyLink bought into the data center business rather than building it organically. According to the Reuters article, analysts have ramped up pressure on Shaw to offload its data centers after the Verizon and CenturyLink deals were announced last year.
CenturyLink executives said the company was not willing to commit to the level of investment required to continue growing its data center business.
Both Verizon and CenturyLink have continued to provide various enterprise technology infrastructure services using the data center assets they’ve sold, turning from data center owners to customers of their respective asset buyers.
Shaw has recently been divesting non-core assets, investing instead in its mobile business, which competes with the wireless units of BCE, Rogers Communications, and Telus Corp. It used some proceeds from the sale of its media assets last year to pay for the C$1.6 billion acquisition of Wind Mobile, according to Reuters.