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Blackstone ventures into data centre space in India

Global asset manager Blackstone Group has forayed into the data center business in Asia with a planned capacity of 600 MW across two large hyperscale data centers in India.

The New York-based investor has set up Lumina CloudInfra, a data center platform, which will be owned and managed by Blackstone’s Real Estate and Tactical Opportunities funds. Anil Reddy, former head of Global Cloud Infrastructure at Microsoft Inc., will head the platform as the global CEO to lead its strategy, expansion and growth across Asia. including Sujeet Deshpande, who has joined from Colt Data Center Services, is CEO of the Indian business.

The planned 600 MW data center capacity will come up in Mumbai and Chennai.

This is the fourth major vertical being set up in India after commercial real estate, retail venture Nexus Malls and Horizon Industrial Parks, which was launched in 2021.

The launch of Lumina reflects its continued focus on data infrastructure globally and commitment to deepening its presence in Asia, Blackstone said on Tuesday.

In Navi Mumbai, Blackstone is in an advanced stage of acquiring two data centres in Airoli and Mahape, and in Chennai, it is in the process to acquire a land parcel to set up a center. It will also expand to Pune, Hyderabad, and National Capital Region (NCR) at a later date.

“…The data center sector is anchored by strong demand for data creation and storage around the world, particularly in India where many of the fastest-growing companies are based,” said Lumina CEO Reddy.

Blackstone’s current investments in digital infrastructure include QTS Realty Trust in US, which it bought in 2021 for about $10 billion, a string of data centers in Japan on long-term contracts with top cloud service providers, Phoenix Towers International, a private cell tower platform in America and Europe, and Hotwire Communications, a pioneer in fiber optic technology.

“The foray into data center business through Lumina showcases Blackstone’s strengths, scale, network, and sector expertise, to address India’s growing demand for mission critical data infrastructure,” said Jasvinder Khaira, head of digital infrastructure at Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities Group.

The growth of the public and private cloud is one of Blackstone’s highest conviction investment themes globally, particularly in India where many of its investments have centered around technology-enabled businesses and properties, Khaira added.

Asheesh Mohta, head of Real Estate Acquisitions in India for Blackstone, said, “…Lumina is a unique, fully integrated platform with capabilities in development, operations, management, and leasing, and adds to our strong track record of building high-quality data center business globally and real asset portfolios of scale in India.” Livemint

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