Digital Realty’s European subsidiary Interxion has snapped up the dominant data center player in another Southeastern European market.
Lamda Helix is the largest colocation and interconnection provider in Greece, Interxion said in its acquisition announcement Tuesday. Its two-data center campus in Athens hosts “approximately two-thirds of Greek data centre communities.”
All fiber and connectivity providers operating in the country are accessible on the campus, serving “telecom providers, government agencies, financial services institutions, cloud service providers and two leading internet exchanges.” A submarine cable landing in Athens connects it to several Mediterranean countries.
With markets like Frankfurt, London, or Amsterdam already saturated with data center capacity, some international data center players have turned their eyes to other heavily populated metros, looking to gain strategic foothold in local markets through assets that act as network gateways to those markets.
In September Interxion announced acquisition of Croatian operator Altus IT, whose colocation facility in Zagreb is another important nerve center for connectivity in Southeast Europe.
Notably, two of Digital’s recent secondary-market expansions have followed moves into the same markets by large cloud platforms. It has positioned itself as an operator of facilities where companies can lease space for their valuable enterprise data and efficiently interconnect with cloud nodes nearby to use cloud services to work on their data at acceptable latencies. In many instances, Digital's campuses also host the cloud nodes themselves.
Dominant interconnection locations like Lamda Helix’s are also valuable for cloud providers, because they provide access to a critical mass of customers in the markets they’re in.
Interxion’s Lamda Helix acquisition announcement came just about one month after Microsoft announced plans to build its first cloud availability region in Greece; Digital executives said on the company’s earnings call last week that the company was expanding its Zurich campus (where it signed two of the quarter’s five biggest customer deals), days before Amazon Web Services revealed that it had a Zurich cloud region in the works.
"We believe a leading position in Greece offers significant opportunities for Interxion and Digital Realty, together with Lamda Hellix, to exploit their customer-first approach to their relationships with global cloud platform operators and enterprises to generate significant opportunities to expand the base of our combined businesses," David Ruberg, Interxion's former CEO who is now Digital Realty's chief executive, EMEA, said in a statement.
Digital Realty isn’t without competition in its pursuit of strategic assets in secondary markets. A lot of new deep-pocketed investors have entered the space in recent years, creating a hyperactive M&A environment. Just last month, for example, a group of former Digital executives announced formation of a new data center venture called Global Compute Infrastructure, backed by Goldman Sachs.
They announced acquisition of ATM, the dominant data center player in Poland – which is another secondary European market cloud platforms have recently moved on – and the new company’s CEO, Scott Peterson, told DCK that he and his partners were actively looking to buy similar key assets in other markets around the world.
On the company’s earnings call last week Digital Realty reported that business growth in Europe and Asia outpaced growth in North America, thanks largely to the success in securing bookings by Interxion, which Digital acquired for $8.4 billion in a deal that closed this past May.