Israel's Azrieli buys stake in data centers firm Compass for $135 million

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli real estate developer Azrieli Group AZRG.TA said on Thursday it was acquiring 20% of Compass Holdco for $135 million for its first investment in the North American data centers market.

Azrieli, which said it studied the sector for two years, has an option to increase its holdings in Compass to 33% by December 2020.

The global outsourced data centers market is estimated at revenues of about $91 billion a year and is expected to grow at an annual pace of 35% by 2022 to reach $307 billion, Azrieli said.

“The market is growing significantly worldwide, and we believe it will serve as a growth engine in view of the considerable growth in the global market,” said Eyal Henkin, Azrieli’s chief executive.

Compass has 10 active facilities and three others under construction and development. The company, Azrieli said, generates annual net operating income of $38 million and is projected to grow significantly in coming years.

Its major shareholders are Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and investment fund RedBird Capital Partners.

(RedBird corrects spelling of its name from Red Bird in last paragraph)

Reporting by Steven Scheer, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch