Africa Data Centres (Africa DC) has finalized all the financials necessary to complete the agreed acquisition of Standard Bank’s Samrand data center in South Africa.

Standard Bank's South Africa Data Centre is a 65,000 sq m (700,000 sq ft) site, built to Tier IV standards and located in Samrand, north of Johannesburg. The facility was previously focused on secure IT systems for banks. Africa DC, a subsidiary of Liquid Telecom, did not disclose the financial details.

sadc_johannesburg_clean.jpg
The data center purchased by Africa DC – Africa Data Centres

Liquid assets

The site cost $87m when it was built in 2010 and consists of two buildings that allow for up to eight data center modules of 1,500 sq m (16,000 sq ft) each. Standard Bank no longer needed the physical space as it has decided to migrate over to AWS and Azure.

The sale was agreed back in April, and approval was given by officials from South Africa’s Competition Tribunal in May. However, according to the newspaper New Zimbabwe, Strive Masiyiwa, the billionaire tycoon and owner of Liquid Telecom, met with investors to gather the funds needed to complete the takeover.

Masiyiwa told the paper: “We used a combination of equity and sold shares to existing shareholders, and also debt to complete the financing. In each situation, we had to make big pitches to investors. I had to lead some of them myself, and it sometimes felt like Shark Tank, except it was tougher and each pitch takes weeks to complete.”

Since July, the Zimbabwean billionaire has been looking to sell between 20 and 34 percent of Liquid Telecom. Goldman Sachs was brought on to manage the sale but talks fell apart when Covid-19 made buyers hold off. Masiyiwa hopes to make around $600m because he needs to repay a $375m loan from Public Investment Corp, Africa’s largest money manager.

The loan was to fund a pay-TV venture, which failed. Liquid Telecom was used as collateral.