Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), the world’s digital infrastructure company™, today announced it has completed its deal to acquire West African data center and connectivity solutions provider MainOne for an enterprise value of US$320M, marking the beginning of its expansion into the African continent.
The completion of this acquisition augments Equinix’s long-term strategy to become a leading African carrier-neutral digital infrastructure company by being able to bring a full range of transformative technologies and connectivity to Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
This acquisition will extend Platform Equinix® into West Africa, giving organizations based inside and outside of Africa access to global and regional markets. Nigeria has both the largest population and the largest economy of any country in Africa, with approximately 142 million active internet subscribers. Home to new innovative digital ecosystems in fintech and content and digital media, it has great opportunity for expansion of digital services.
Equinix believes MainOne, headquartered in Lagos, to be one of the most exciting technology businesses to emerge from Africa, and Lagos is rapidly becoming a key connectivity hub for the wider West Africa region. Founded by Funke Opeke in 2010, the company has enabled connectivity for the business community of Nigeria and now has digital infrastructure assets, including three operational data centers, with an additional facility in Lagos expected to open in April 2022.
- MainOne’s assets include: • Four operational data centers, which will add more than 64,000 gross square feet of space to Platform Equinix, in addition to 570,000 square feet of land for future expansions.
- An extensive submarine network extending 7,000 kilometers from Portugal to Lagos, Accra and along the West African coast, with landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
- A terrestrial network of more than 1,200 kilometers of reliable terrestrial fiber in Lagos, Edo and Ogun States. Connectivity to terrestrial sites extends across 65 points of presence (PoPs) in cities across Portugal, Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
- Access to key internet exchanges enabling low latency to key global networks, including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook.
- An estimated 800+ business-to-business customers, including major international technology enterprises, social media companies, global telecommunications operators, financial service companies and cloud service providers.
- Nearly 500 employees and a management team with a deep understanding of local and international markets.
- The facilities currently generate approximately US$60M annualized (Q2’21LQA) revenue with a purchase multiple of approximately 14x EBITDA.
- MainOne will operate under a new brand “MainOne, an Equinix company”
- Funke Opeke will continue to lead under the new brand of “MainOne, an Equinix company.”
- Globally, Platform Equinix is comprised of 240 data centers across 66 metros and 27 countries on 6 continents, providing data center and interconnection services to 10,000+ companies including more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies.
Closure of the MainOne acquisition marks the latest in a series of strategic acquisitions for the world’s digital infrastructure company. Following the announcement of intent to acquire MainOne in December 2021, Equinix recently announced expansions in South America with its intended acquisition of three Entel data centers to accelerate digital transformation opportunities for local businesses and multinational companies. Both acquisitions followed announcements to acquire 13 Bell data centers in Canada and two highly interconnected data centers in Mumbai through the acquisition of GPX India in October 2020 and September 2021, respectively.
TELCOS Decry Government’s Decision on Telephone Tax
The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has said the recent move by the Federal Government to add a one kobo per second tax on phone calls is a misplaced priority.
Investors King recalls that the Federal Government of Nigeria had, on Monday, said it will implement a one kobo per second tax on phone calls in the nation to fund free healthcare for the vulnerable.
ALTON said it is a “bad fate” on the part of the Government and it is badly intended. “This is because when we came out that the government should look at our cost of operations and give us room to review tariffs, everybody treated us like an outcast.
“The same government is now coming in a matter of days to say they are introducing new taxes. So, when they were saying to us that we cannot increase tariff because it is insensitive to the plight of the people and now, they brought another tax thing through the back door, we think it is bad fate and badly intended. So if we cannot review based on the impact it will have on subscribers, why are they bringing in another tax, still on subscribers.
“Government cannot act in one way and say another thing”, ALTON said.
According to ALTON, this will affect subscribers because they get less value for what they pay for.
“It means now that when you buy a 100 recharge card, the percentage will be deducted from it and paid to the government. So it is shortchanging the people. What will happen is that operators will be mandated to collect this tax on their behalf and remit it to the government”, the association noted.
ALTON suggested that although the motive for the tax rate is understandable, the government should have looked elsewhere to source it.
It said: “Not telecoms subscribers whom the government has said its suffering because of living lately
“We will not complain as operators because we will definitely remit, it is the subscribers that will bear the brunt”.
A Lagos State resident, Taiwo Popoola, in a conversation with Investors King, said the decision to increase the tax rate will be too hard for an average Nigerian to bear if implemented. According to him, only the upper class of the society will conveniently afford it.
“On the part of the users, buying airtime will drastically reduce. People would resolve to use social media channels to reach each other and may, in turn, reduce the income of these telecommunication companies,” Taiwo said.
Allow Automatic Antivirus Products Updates to Fight Computer Malware – NCC tells Nigerians
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advised that allowing automatic update features for AVAST and AVG anti-virus applications could prevent cyber vulnerabilities.
The Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) of the NCC, in a statement signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Ikechukwu Adinde on Sunday, noted that the vulnerabilities in AVAST and AVG anti-virus apps can lead to millions of devices being attacked.
Recall that Investors King reported that the NCC had warned Nigerians about a new hacking technique that allows hackers to access and hijack vehicles.
Investors King also recalls that the CSIR team had proffered solutions to the newly developed cyberattack schemes on telecom consumers.
According to the CSIRT, the AVAST and AVG Antiviruses can lead to attacks on millions of devices with high impact in terms of consequences to the ICT user.
“The threat types as a result of this vulnerability are bypass authentication, remote code execution and unauthorised access while consequences range from privilege escalation, bypass security products, overwrite system components and corrupting the operating system”, the statement read.
The CSIRT further stated that “researchers at SentinelOne security firm have discovered two potentially damaging vulnerabilities in AVAST and AVG antivirus products that allow attackers to escalate privileges enabling them to disable security products, overwrite system components, corrupt the operating system, or perform malicious operations unimpeded.
“Two vulnerabilities identified as CVE-2022-26522 and CVE-2022-26523 targeted the “anti rootkit” driver of Avast antivirus (also used by AVG) allowing an attacker with limited privileges on the targeted system to execute code in system mode (kernel mode) and take complete control of the device. Moreover, the vulnerabilities allow complete take-over of a device, even without privileges, due to the ability to execute code in kernel mode.
“However, the cybersecurity centre has offered tripartite measures that should be taken by Internet/ICT users to prevent being vulnerable to cyber threats. They include enabling automatic update features for AVAST and AVG antiviruses, upgrading AVAST and AVG antiviruses to version 22.1.2504, as well as carrying out regular patch management”.
NCC said the advice is coming as the commission is committed to continually sensitise Nigerians on how to prevent cyber attack.
Egypt to Produce 60% African Vaccine Needs – VACSERA
The Chairman of Egypt’s Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA), Dr. Heba Wali, has revealed that the country is set to produce 60% of African vaccine needs by 2040.
She made this statement at a press gathering in Cairo on Monday, revealing that there is the construction of a $50 million vaccine storage facility, which will be completed in July to house about 150 million doses of COVID-19 and other vaccines.
Dr. Wali explained that the facility is being created as part of the Egyptian government’s ambition to make Egypt the continent’s vaccine production hub.
She said, Egypt currently has the capacity to meet the country’s COVID-19 vaccination demands; however, VACSERA is receiving technical assistance from China in the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
VACSERA is also looking forward to beginning manufacturing of vaccinations to combat avian flu and pneumonia, which have caused serious health problems in several African countries in recent years, she added.
VACSERA, she claims, has the potential to generate 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccinations each year, with 70 million doses produced in five months during the pandemic’s peak.
According to WHO estimates, there have been 254,000 deaths and 12.086 million recorded infections in Africa since the outbreak in 2019, with Egypt accounting for around 24,690 deaths.
She revealed that the first consignment of vaccines was sent to Palestine in an effort to assist the Middle Eastern country in combating COVID-19.
Wali said that VACSERA is developing a strategy with Centres for Disease Control in other African countries to find a common ground for vaccine production in the continent.
Prior to this, Investors King reported that Egypt sought a loan of 83 Million Euros from the African Development Bank to power their Electricity Sector to Spur Economic Recovery from Covid-19. The funding is part of the Bank’s budget support to the Egyptian government to strengthen its electricity infrastructure, which is expected to bolster the private sector and accelerate recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, Investors King explained.
VASCERA was established over 100 years ago, and is currently, the only producer of vaccine & Sera in Egypt and one of the main functioning blood banks. Likewise, it is the oldest manufacturer of vaccines in Africa and the Middle East
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