Ardian goes for data centres

Apollo’s Restaurant Group bid wins approval.

Deals involving data centres have been fairly frequent all year, with the infrastructure an increasingly critical asset as it supports segments such as cloud computing and AI. This morning, we take a look at Ardian agreeing to acquire a data centre platform from an infrastructure investment company.

Next, we have an update on Apollo’s bid for the Restaurant Group, as the company’s shareholders formally approve the proposed cash acquisition.

To finish, we have a reinvestment, something that we’ve seen increasingly of late as the exit markets remain difficult. Eurazeo and its portfolio company EFESO have agreed to bring in TowerBrook Capital as a reference shareholder, as Eurazeo reinvests in the business.

Data centric

Let’s start with a bit of infrastructure. Ardian has agreed to acquire 100 percent of Verne Global, a data centre platform, from Digital 9 Infrastructure (D9).

Verne Global has data centre campuses in the UK, Iceland and Finland. The company provides data centre services for organisations running high-performance computing workloads, notably AI, machine learning and large language models. Most of Verne’s data centres are powered by renewable energy, according to Ardian.

Ardian will support the company’s management team to deliver an expansion plan in the Nordics, supported by low-carbon energy and international connectivity, according to a press release.

“Verne Global has pioneered a sustainable approach to data centre management, using renewable energy and re-purposing existing sites to minimise its environmental impact,” said Gonzague Boutry, William Briggs and Pauline Thomson, infrastructure team at Ardian. “Ardian’s investment will support the strong management team at Verne Global to deliver an ambitious plan for its next stage of growth. With Ardian’s support, Verne is well positioned to capitalise on global digitalisation trends such as the accelerating use of AI and machine learning.”

On the menu

We have a little something for those following the flurry of take-private bids this year. Shareholders of the Restaurant Group (TRG) have formally approved the proposed cash acquisition of the company by Apollo Global Management.

In total, 93.46 percent of shareholders voted in favour of the bid, which values TRG at £506 million (€583 million; $638 million). TRG owns brands such as Wagamama and Barburrito.

If you want to catch up on Apollo’s bid for TRG, which saw some potential competition in late October, take a look at our previous coverage here.

This week kicked off with take-private activity, as yesterday Archimed wrapped up its £203 million ($256 million; €234 million) take-private of Instem, a UK software provider for the drug development industry.

Not letting go

Let’s finish with an investment and a reinvestment. TowerBrook Capital Partners has agreed to become a reference shareholder in EFESO Management Consultants, an international consulting company in industrial operations strategy and performance improvement.

Eurazeo, EFESO’s majority shareholder since 2019, will reinvest via its successor fund as part of a co-control framework with TowerBrook.

Eurazeo will invest around €115 million in equity and over €290 million together with TowerBrook and EFESO Partners.

EFESO’s partners will consolidate their shareholding in the company with over 65 partners substantially reinvesting their proceeds, according to a release. Additionally, there are plans to open the capital pool to over 100 principals and managers, the release said.

Paris-based EFESO has tripled in size over the last five years and generated over €200 million in revenue in 2023.

The group has strengthened its market position across operations strategy and performance improvement, while simultaneously pursuing its international expansion, achieving strong organic growth accelerated by a buy and build strategy, the release added. EFESO has also strengthened its capabilities in product costing, innovation to industrialisation, value engineering and decarbonation.

“We see significant opportunities for the group in the coming years, in Europe, the US and Asia-Pacific,” said Pierre Meignen, managing director, small-mid buyout, at Eurazeo.