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Liberty Global, DigitalBridge launch European edge data centre business

JV brings to the forefront and executive line-up featuring some of Europe’s best colocation names to drive growth and expansion across the continent.

By João Marques Lima

Co-founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

5 Mins

September 21, 2021 | 1:17 PM BST

Liberty Global, DigitalBridge launch European edge data centre business

From left to right: Josh Joshi (Executive Chairman), Zahl Limbuwala (Chief Operating Officer), Ron Huisman (Chief Financial Officer). Source: AtlasEdge Data Centres

Liberty Global (NASDAQ: LBTYA, LBTYB and LBTYK) and DigitalBridge (NYSE: DBRG) have officially launched Europe’s newest edge data centre business backed by an executive team made of well-known industry names.

First up, the two investment firms brought in Ron Huisman who has been appointed Chief Financial Officer, responsible for leading the financial aspects of AtlasEdge Data Centres which includes over 100 edge sites across Europe.

Prior to joining AtlasEdge, Huisman was Chief Financial Officer of Liberty Global’s Central division, including the Global Technology & Innovation division. Prior to that, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Liberty’s Dutch operations and Chief Financial Officer of Liberty Global’s International Content division.

Elsewhere, Zahl Limbuwala has been appointed Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the operation of AtlasEdge’s edge data centre portfolio, including Operations & Engineering, Design & Construction, Physical & Cyber Security, Sustainability, Procurement and Programme Management.

Limbuwala brings deep expertise as a technology leader, previously serving as the Executive Director of Strategy & Market Engagement for CBRE. He has founded, led and exited three technology start-up businesses, as well as held operational and management leadership positions in international telecoms and data center companies around the world.

Also joining AtlasEdge is Henry Harris who has been appointed General Counsel and Head of Corporate Development, responsible for overseeing legal matters and corporate development activities.

Prior to joining AtlasEdge, Harris was Managing Director of the legal function at Liberty Global, one of the world’s leading converged video, broadband and communications companies. In this role, he was responsible for commercial legal activities, covering key areas such as technology, outsourcings, supply contracting, IP and commercial litigation.

Lastly, Dan Thomas has been appointed Senior Vice President of Sales, leading commercial and customer activities at AtlasEdge.

Thomas has spent 10 years at Interxion as Senior Director, International leading commercial activities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, the US and Asia. During his tenure, he helped Interxion build and grow new customer segments in the platform, connectivity and enterprise verticals with demonstrated year-on-year performance. He has also supported a strategic African investment fund around M&A and building new data centre services.

Overseeing the board is Josh Joshi who was announced as Executive Chairman last May. Joshi has over 20 years of experience building value in the digital infrastructure sector, holding senior positions at several multinational companies including CFO of Interxion.

Other team members include Mark Cooper as VP of edge strategy, Ian Hammond as VP of operations and engineering, Joanna Kelly as VP of senior legal counsel, and Susan Ashton as VP of security and compliance.

AtlasEdge has been created through a joint venture (JV) between Liberty Global and DigitalBridge.

The company will deliver services via a network of facilities located close to consumer and enterprise end-users, the “edge” of the network.

The brand aims to serve the growing demand from cloud providers, streaming services and enterprises for facilities through which they can distribute low-latency applications and services such as 5G, gaming, IOT and edge compute.

Liberty Global will contribute digital infrastructure assets, including its technical real estate portfolios, at levels consistent with European digital infrastructure valuations. Liberty Global will also provide strategic and operational support to the business.

DigitalBridge will provide operating expertise, strategic direction and capital to support the significant growth and consolidation opportunity in edge co-location services across Europe.

Mike Fries, CEO Liberty Global, said last May when the company was announced: “The proposed joint venture presents significant growth opportunities as we look to build this business into a leading European edge data centre operator. Furthermore, since several of our operating companies will become anchor tenants, Liberty Global customers will also benefit from better and more responsive services.”

Also commenting, Marc Ganzi President and CEO of DigitalBridge, added: “The proposed joint venture will unlock the growth potential of Liberty’s digital real estate holdings and capitalise on the emerging demand we are seeing for edge compute across Europe.

“It is an opportunity for us to apply the entire DigitalBridge value-add playbook, leveraging our operating expertise, strategic M&A capabilities, and access to institutional capital in partnership with a world-class organization like Liberty Global.”

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João Marques Lima

Co-founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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