Verne Global acquired by Digital 9 Infrastructure plc in deal valued at £231m

Verne Global, provider of sustainable data center solutions for high intensity computing (registered as Verne Holdings Limited), has announced that it has been acquired by Digital 9 Infrastructure plc (D9), the newly established investment trust that invests in a range of digital infrastructure assets which deliver a reliable, functioning internet, in a deal valued at approximately £231m in cash.

UK-based D9 is focused on providing resilient digital infrastructures that are integrated with green and cleaner power in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 9, to ‘build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation’.

The acquisition of Verne Global, which operates a 100 percent renewable powered data center campus based in Iceland, reaffirms this strategy and, together with D9’s recent subsea investment in Aqua Comms, accelerates the investment trust’s ambition to decarbonise digital infrastructure by increasing access to data centres in areas where there are abundant supplies of clean energy.

Verne Global’s 40 acre data center campus has been designed from the ground up to provide highly specialist data center services for organisations running high intensity compute workloads, including AI, machine learning, high performance computing (HPC) and supercomputing. Iceland’s stable energy grid ensures Verne Global can provide these customers with long-term price visibility, while the local climate supports free cooling 365 days a year. Its services are backed by a highly expert team of data center engineers, which offers round-the-clock support from Verne Global’s Keflavik campus.

Dominic Ward, CEO of Verne Global, said: “We are absolutely delighted to become part of the Digital 9 Infrastructure platform. Its mission to support and develop highly-resilient digital infrastructures that fuel innovation, but are also sustainable and inclusive, resonates tremendously with Verne Global’s own business objectives. What Verne Global has achieved over the last decade is a fantastic accomplishment and is a great acknowledgement of the exceptional team that we have. We are hugely grateful for the support that we have had from our prior shareholders – Wellcome Trust, Stefnir, Novator Partners, and General Catalyst Partners – to this point. As we look forward, we are now hugely excited to be working with D9 and believe that we have the perfect partner to help power our future.”

Commenting on the Verne Global transaction, Thor Johnsen, Head of Digital Infrastructure at Triple Point, D9’s Investment Manager, said: “Data centers form a key part of the digital infrastructure backbone.  Verne Global’s existing Icelandic based data center assets represent some of the cleanest, lowest carbon footprint data centres, globally. This is another key step to support decarbonising the data center industry.  For society to meet key decarbonisation goals, we need to look for ways to shift energy consumptive activities to areas of surplus renewable energy. The digital infrastructure industry has an increasing energy footprint, particularly data centres, which need to become more energy efficient and green. However, as an industry we should not expect to just rely on carbon offsets in markets which are already struggling to meet carbon targets, but we need to attract data centre demand to areas where there are robust sources of renewable power. We are thrilled to add the Verne Global platform to the growing D9 portfolio. Together with the D9 subsea investment in Aqua Comms, we are pursuing further fibre network opportunities to improve connectivity into the Nordics, enabling data center users reliable and low cost access to the vast renewable and low cost energy resources of Iceland and the Nordics.”

Birgir Már Ragnarsson, Managing Partner at Novator Partners LLP, one of the original investors in Verne Global, said: “When we founded Verne Global in 2007 with our friends at General Catalyst, we had the ambitious goal of building the first green data center in the world that would serve the global enterprise market.  We saw Iceland as the best place for high intensity compute, using 100 percent renewable energy, free cooling, long term energy contracts and a tech savvy, highly educated workforce.

“Now close to 15 years later, we are super proud to say that we achieved our goal thanks to the brilliant team at Verne Global and our co-investors from the Welcome Trust and Stefnir. Verne Global is already a clear winner as a green sustainable data center serving global customers, and now has the opportunity to grow even further under new ownership.  We congratulate D9 with their acquisition and look forward to following Verne Global’s future.”

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