Blackstone Group Inc. has agreed to buy QTS Realty Trust Inc. for $10 billion and take the data center operator private.

First reported by the WSJ, the investment company’s Blackstone Infrastructure Partners unit, together with its non-traded real-estate investment trust, known as BREIT, have agreed to pay $78 a share for QTS.

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– QTS Realty Trust

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021., and includes the assumption of the data center operator's existing debt. The agreement includes a 40-day “go-shop” period which permits QTS and its representatives to actively solicit and consider alternative acquisition proposals.

“We are pleased to enter into this transaction with Blackstone, as it will deliver compelling, immediate, and certain value to stockholders while positioning QTS to continue supporting customers’ expanding data center infrastructure needs,” said Philip Trahanas, lead director of the QTS Board of Directors. “The QTS Board regularly reviews the Company’s strategy and market opportunities to maximize stockholder value, and we are confident this transaction achieves that objective.”

“We see a significant market opportunity for growth as hyperscale customers and enterprises continue to leverage our world-class infrastructure to support their digital transformation initiatives," added Chad Williams, chairman and CEO of QTS. "We are confident this transaction is the right step to achieve our strategic objectives in our next phase of growth.”

Founded in 2003 and based in Overland Park, Kansas, QTS is a real estate investment trust that owns more than seven million square feet of data center space in 28 locations across North America and Europe. The company went public in 2012 via an IPO on the NY Stock Exchange.

Last year the company opened new facilities in Atlanta and Oregon, and recently announced plans for a further 1 million sq ft facility in Atlanta.

Earlier this month Blackstone formed its latest joint venture with Corporate Office Properties Trust to acquire two data center facilities.

“We are delighted to back QTS and its world-class management team as they continue to scale the company to meet the rising demand for data centers," said Greg Blank, Senior Managing Director, Blackstone Infrastructure Partners. "QTS aligns with one of Blackstone’s highest conviction themes – data proliferation – and the required investment makes it well suited as a long-term holding for our perpetual capital vehicles. We are committed to a strong, lasting partnership, leveraging Blackstone’s scale, reach, resources, and access to capital to drive long-term growth at QTS."