Dublin-based subsea cable operator to be sold in $215m deal

24 Mar 2021

Image: © Casseb/Stock.adobe.com

A newly formed investment trust intends to buy Aqua Comms, an Irish-headquartered company that operates two transatlantic cables.

Aqua Comms, a Dublin-based company that specialises in subsea fibre-optic cable networks, is to be acquired by Digital 9 Infrastructure.

The newly formed investment trust announced that it intends to buy the subsea cable operator after listing its shares later this month, with plans to raise £400m in an IPO on the London Stock Exchange.

With the proceeds of the IPO, Digital 9 said it plans to buy Aqua Comms in its entirety at a valuation of $215m on a cash free, debt free basis. This is part of a larger plan to invest in a range of digital infrastructure assets.

‘Trailblazer in the subsea market’

Aqua Comms was founded in 2014 as a carrier’s carrier, specialising in the building and operating of submarine cable systems. Its network serves global data centres, cloud-based networks and internet content providers.

The company is the owner and operator of the AEC-1 network, which connects New York, Dublin and London via a low-latency fibre-optic network.

The 5,536km cable runs from Shirley in Long Island to Killala in Co Mayo and was readied for service in 2016. It has dual diverse backhauls to Dublin to reach the Irish Sea and across the UK to London.

Aqua Comms also operates a second transatlantic cable network between the US and Europe, AEC-2, which launched last December. It directly links New Jersey with Denmark, and a yet-to-be constructed branch of the network will connect to Ireland.

The company has recently upgraded its two transatlantic submarine cable routes with technology from networking systems, services and software company Ciena.

Ciena’s vice-president of global submarine solutions, Ian Clarke, said Aqua Comms has proven to be “a trailblazer in the subsea market”.

“With these network enhancements Aqua Comms can offer greater efficiencies and reliability across its network and support the hyper-growth traffic between the US and Europe.”

Aqua Comms’ chief network officer, Andy Hudson, added that Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme submarine network technology will boost the company’s network capacity and help it to adopt AI capabilities and software intelligence.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic