More than half a dozen investment firms, including KKR and DigitalBridge, are said to be in the running to acquire a minority stake in Airtel’s Nxtra data center unit.

Nxtra Chennai India
A Nxtra data center in Chennai – Nxtra

Reports that investment firm Carlyle is purportedly looking to sell its holdings in Nxtra surfaced last week. This week, several sovereign wealth funds, private equity funds, and infrastructure asset managers are said to be in discussions to acquire the stake.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Economic Times reports sovereign wealth funds GIC and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, as well as investment firms Stonepeak, DigitalBridge, KKR, and Permira are all interested in acquiring Carlyle’s 24 percent stake in Nxtra. Previous reports have also suggested Blackstone is in the race.

Nxtra currently operates 12 data centers in India, as well as 120 Edge facilities or Points-of-Presence.

The company is jointly owned by Indian telco Airtel and Carlyle, with the latter set to take a 25 percent stake in 2020 for around $235 million. The deal, eventually for 24 percent of Nxtra, closed in 2022.

Airtel recently launched an African Nxtra unit, with plans to develop a 34MW data center in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as a facility in Kenya. The company has said it currently operates 40 Edge locations across the African continent.

The companies named in the reports all have some experience in the digital infrastructure space.

Stonepeak holds stakes in APAC operator DigitalEdge as well as CoreSite and Cologix in the US. DigtalBridge’s many data center holdings include Vantage and Atlas Edge.

KKR owns CyrusOne alongside BlackRock-owned GIP. Blackstone owns QTS in the US.

GIC has invested in several Equinix xScale projects. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority recently acquired a sake in DigitalBridge’s Landmark Dividend.

Permira was an early investor in South Africa’s Teraco (later acquired by Digital Realty).