Hyper-scale data centres focus of latest Johnson Controls acquisition

12 Apr 2021

Johnson Controls in Ontario, Canada. Image: © JHVEPhoto/Stock.adobe.com

Johnson Controls plans to acquire Silent-Aire, which develops air handlers and modular data centres for hyper-scale cloud and colocation providers.

Johnson Controls, a provider of control systems, heating ventilation and air conditioning for buildings, is set to acquire modular data centre designer Silent-Aire. The deal will see Johnson Controls grow its hyper-scale data centre vertical and expand into key growth areas.

The all-cash transaction is valued at up to $870m and will include an upfront payment of $630m. It is expected to close in the fiscal third quarter of 2021, depending on regulatory approval.

Johnson Controls is led out of Wisconsin and has an Irish headquarters in Co Cork. Its previous acquisitions include security provider Qolsys and home products manufacturer Lux Products.

According to the company, the shift of applications to the cloud has led to surging demand for computing power and rapid expansion of data centre infrastructure, such as hyper-scale cloud and colocation facilities.

Silent-Aire specialises in designing, engineering and manufacturing custom air handlers and modular data centres for these hyper-scale cloud and colocation providers.

Johnson Controls CEO George Oliver said the acquisition will help his team grow in an “attractive end market” by combining its manufacturing expertise with Silent-Aire’s “broad portfolio of technologies”.

“This acquisition perfectly aligns with several of our key strategic growth initiatives and underscores our focus on creating shareholder value,” Oliver continued. “We are incredibly excited to welcome Silent-Aire to the Johnson Controls family as we look to build upon their success of nearly 30 years of innovation, operational expertise and deep customer relationships.”

Silent-Aire’s revenue for the 2021 fiscal year is expected to be $650m. The Canadian company employs 3,000 people globally and its European headquarters is in Dublin.

“Silent-Aire grew up with the cloud and our DNA translates what it means to be a hyper-scale data centre company,” the company’s co-CEO, Lindsey Leckelt, said.

“We broke through traditional design barriers that pushed energy initiatives in what led to how most hyper-scale data centres are cooled and engineered today. The culture in our business captures this unique skill set and is scaled through to our engineering, operations and manufacturing teams to keep up with the explosive growth of cloud providers.”

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021