Verne Global, provider of sustainable data center solutions for high intensity computing (registered as Verne Holdings Limited), today 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 £231 million 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 industrialization 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 centers 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.”
About Digital 9 Infrastructure plc:
Digital 9 Infrastructure plc is a newly established, externally managed investment trust which invests in a range of digital infrastructure assets which deliver a reliable, functioning internet.
“Digital infrastructure” refers to the critical infrastructure required for the internet to operate and, essentially, refers to everything from fibre networks that connect continents, businesses and homes (the very “backbone” of the internet), to the data centres that organisations use to house their critical networks of computer and storage resources, and to the towers and small cells that carry data traffic wirelessly to the end user.
The Company is focused on the provision of Digital Infrastructure integrated with green and cleaner power in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 9: “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”.
The Company’s portfolio will comprise future proofed, non-legacy, scalable platforms and technologies including (but not limited to) subsea fibre, data centres, terrestrial fibre, tower infrastructure and small cell networks (including 5G).
The Investment Manager is Triple Point Investment Management LLP (“Triple Point“) which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, with extensive experience in asset and project finance, portfolio management and structured investments. The Investment Manager’s digital infrastructure team has a proven track record of over US$2 billion of infrastructure investments and, in addition, benefits from a panel of digital infrastructure industry experts with deep knowledge, relationships and involvement in a combined US$250 billion of digital infrastructure transactions.
The Company’s Ordinary Shares were admitted to trading on the Specialist Fund Segment of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange on 31 March 2021.
For more information, please visit www.d9infrastructure.com.
About Verne Global
Verne Global delivers data center solutions for high intensity computing, engineered for optimal high performance compute and built upon 100% renewable energy. Our clean grid and stable climate cuts costs and energy usage, and our expert team provides on-site, around-the-clock support to maximise performance and flexibility for customer workloads.
Founded in 2012, our Icelandic data center campus powers some of the world’s most innovative and demanding industries, including financial services, earth sciences, life sciences, engineering, scientific research and AI.