8 Of The Richest Data Centre Billionaires
However, with the data centre space delivering on its promises for the digital economy, the world’s richest have also started to make investments in the sector.
João Marques Lima lists some of the most recent billionaire moves within the colocation space whose combined fortunes are worth over $94bn.
1. Mukesh Ambani
- Net Worth: $50.2bn
- Country: India
- Born: Yemen
Ambani is, according to Forbes, the world’s 13th richest man and is known for being the chairman, MD and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company and a member of the Fortune Global 500.
The Indian business magnate got into the data centre business in 2010, when he acquired Infotel Broadband Services for $700m. Infotel was rebranded as Reliance Jio and placed in the Reliance Industries portfolio.
2. Reuben Brothers
- Net Worth: $15.3bn
- Country: UK
- Born: India
If there are billionaires involved with data centres, no one is as involved in the field as David and Simon Reuben.
Between 2007 and December 2016, the brothers were the whole owners of one of the UK’s largest operators Global Switch, until the sale of 49% equity to a consortium of leading Chinese corporate and institutional investors.
A further 24.99% stake was sold in July 2018 to another consortium, comprised of follow-on investment from existing Global Switch institutional and private investors, as well as new stakeholders.
The Reuben Brother own today 24.01% of the company. In addition to Global Switch, separate data centre acquisitions carried out by David and Simon included four data centres in the UK in Thurrock, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Newark on Trent.
Total data centre space under the Reuben’s control is rapidly climbing up to 5 million sqft.
3. John Fredriksen
- Net Worth: $11.1bn
- Country: Cyprus
- Born: Norway
A Norwegian-born oil tanker and shipping magnate John Fredriksen has in the summer of 2018 entered the list of billionaires investing in data centres, following a capital bet on Norwegian operator Bulk Infrastructure.
The amount invested by Fredriksen in the expanding company has never been disclosed, however, CEO Peder Naerboe has kept a majority stake in Oslo-listed Bulk following a share issue as part of the new partnership.
Some of Fredriksen’s largest companies include the world’s largest salmon farmer Marine Harvest, offshore drilling firm Seadrill and oil tanker company Frontline, among others.
4. Patrick Soon-Shiong
- Net Worth: $7.6bn
- Country: South Africa
- Born: USA
South African-born Chinese American surgeon, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Patrick Soon-Shiong is one of the world’s most influential supporters of scientific research and healthcare advancements.
Realising the need for the right platforms for management, storage and analysis of massive data sets required by genomic medicine or augmented intelligence, in 2012, Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks, LLC formed a partnership with US operator ServerFarm to help him and his teams make sense and store data to help advance healthcare.
The investor also vowed in 2011, in a separate transaction, to build a $200m biotech data centre in Phoenix, USA.
5. Oleg Deripaska
- Net Worth: $3.1bn
- Country: Russia
- Born: Russia
Founder and owner of one of Russia’s largest industrial groups and charitable foundations, Oleg Deripaska has not left the data centre monopoly out of his projects.
The Russian oligarch announced in 2015 the construction of a $355m data centre in Irkutsk, Eastern Siberia. The facility – built in phases planned until 2024 – will be brought online through partnerships with Huawei and Centrin Data Systems.
This is in fact Huawei’s largest-ever project in Russia. The endeavour is such of high importance, that it was signed by President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping in 2015.
With Jinping’s One Belt One Road project, more data centre projects close to the route have been announced by several other companies, placing digital at the heart of the 21st-century trade channel.
6. Naguib Sawiris
- Net Worth: $2.9bn
- Country: Egypt
- Born: Egypt
Sawiris has over the years built one of the largest fortunes in Africa and today serves as chairman of Weather Investments’ parent company, and chairman of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding S.A.E.
And it was in 2014 when the mogul delved into the data centre space with the establishment of a partnership and investment round into Las Vegas’ Switch Supernap.
The joint venture with Accelero Capital and Orascom TMT Investments has led to the building and operation of data centres for clients such as cloud computing, internet and financial firms across different markets where Switch had not stepped in, such as Millan in Italy, where it now operates a $314m data centre.
7. Dennis Troesh
- Net Worth: $2.2bn
- Country: USA
- Born: USA
Adventist investor Dennis Troesh, who built his name and fortune through the cement industry, has data centres to thank for his position in the exclusive global list of billionaires.
Despite selling concrete producer Robertson’s Ready Mix to Mitsubishi Materials Corp. in a series of deals that valued the company at $2bn in 2012, with wasn’t until Switch entered the stock market in 2017 that Troesh main substantial gains that catapulted him into the billionaires’ field.
With control of 14.6% of the company, his stake in the business was evaluated by Bloomberg at $2.2bn the day the operator made its IPO. Switch was the US’s third-largest IPO that year, with stock shooting up by 46.5%.
8. Oei Hong Leong
- Net Worth: $1.5bn
- Country: Singapore
- Born: Indonesia
Oei Hong Leong’s fortune derives much from his corporate bond portfolio and real estate assets.
However, in 2017 and in line with China’s One Belt One Road plan, the art collector and one of Singapore’s richest citizens, announced his intention to invest as much as $5bn in the construction and running of data centres in the city-state.
Leong’s vision for the data centre company could be one of the largest initial funding rounds thrown into the creation of a hosting brand.
The company will be named One Belt One Net, in allusion to mentioned One Belt One Road Initiative.
Leong’s $5bn fund will be used to build a data centre, procure equipment and machinery, cloud computing services, software development, and recruit and train staff.
Industry: Data Centre
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