Equinix expands Canadian presence, buying 13 Bell Canada datacentres, and launching new strategic partnership with Bell Canada

Equinix acquires 13 BCE datacentres for $USD 750 million, with Bell becoming an Equinix Platinum Partner and reseller, and the two companies pledging a strong joint Go-to-Market commitment.

Stuart Thompson, Equinix’s VP of Corporate Development

Interconnect and data centre provider Equinix has greatly expanded their presence in Canada with the purchase of 13 data centres from BCE [Bell Canada Enterprises]. They paid US$750 million [$CDN 1,041 million] in an all-cash transaction. The two companies also announced a strategic partnership, which will see BCE become an Equinix Platinum partner, and where the two companies are committing to a strong joint Go-to-Market strategy.

Equinix has been in Canada for years, but only in Toronto, where they have two International Business Exchange  [IBX] data centres. The 13 new data centres, representing 25 separate facilities, expand Equinix’s physical presence into seven new metros: Calgary, Alberta; Kamloops and Vancouver, British Columbia; Millidgeville [St.John], New Brunswick; Montreal, Quebec; Ottawa, Ontario; and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“Canada has been a very good market, a high growth market for us,” said Stuart Thompson, a transplanted Calgarian who is Equinix’s VP of Corporate Development, in charge of both organic and inorganic growth for the US. ‘This is a market we have had a eye on to expand in for a long time. Canada is a very sophisticated market poised for growth, which has been underpenetrated from an Equinix standpoint as well as generally. This puts us in over 220 data centres, and delivers on the execution of our long-term growth strategy in Canada.”

Thompson stressed that Equinix isn’t just buying the data centres, but will be following that up with a significant long-term investment in Canada.

“This shows a real commitment to the Canadian market, with further commitment to capital to grow,” he said. “We intend to grow the business, not just acquire these data centres.

Thompson also emphasized that this is the right deal with the right partner.

“This provides scale for us right out the box,” he said. “It will be  helpful for our existing customers, and it brings us over 600 customers from Bell.” More than 500 of these are net new customers to Equinix.

Thompson indicated that the deal came about because Bell was a willing seller.

“Bell really wanted to focus on their core value proposition,” he said. “They wanted to focus on 5G and getting the very latest communications solutions out to their customers. Data centre solutions are capital intensive, so getting someone like us who are comfortable deploying capital in data centres is significant.”

The way the deal was constructed with the ongoing relationship where BCE becomes an Equinix Platinum reseller, will allow Bell to keep the data centre portfolio relationship with their customers. The strategic partnership with  Bell will allow them to deliver joint offers with Equinix. It makes them Equinix’s first Canadian Platinum partner, and will also allow Equinix to engage with Bell reseller partners.

“As a Platinum partner, we will be a critical part of their stack, making them the right partner for us,” Thompson indicated. “Bell will have executive level sponsorship for Equinix. We will have a joint Go-to-Market effort with joint marketing and communication campaigns. In addition, both companies have committed funds to this.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approval.