Colony Capital unveils succession plan amid M&A deal

The firm, which acquired Abraaj’s LatAm business in April, has acquired digital infrastructure manager Digital Bridge and tapped its founder as its new CEO.

Real estate firm Colony Capital, the new owner of Abraaj Group‘s Latin American business, has announced a leadership succession plan in conjunction with its $325 million acquisition of Digital Bridge.

Following the deal, Marc Ganzi, founder of Digital Bridge, a Boca Raton, Florida-based company, will become chief executive of Los Angeles-based Colony Capital. Tom Barrack, the firm’s founder, will become executive chairman.

The deal brings in-house a $4 billion telecommunications and data infrastructure fund that the two firms closed together earlier this year.

Colony Capital and Digital Bridge declined to comment for this story.

Colony Capital is paying for two-thirds of the acquisition with cash. The rest will be paid for by units of LP interests in the firm’s operating partnership, according to a statement. The deal brings Digital Bridge’s $20 billion portfolio of 349,000 telecom sites and 39 data centres into Colony Capital’s now $60 billion of managed assets.

The two companies came together last year to raise money for investments in digital infrastructure. The sector is seen as having high-growth potential as industries move to cloud-based data management and access to mobile networks continues to increase.

“As our experiential world gives way to a new future – a data-driven world – real estate in its current format with long-dated contractual revenue streams from traditional tenants will have to change and adapt or face substantial obsolescence,” Barrack said in the statement.

Digital Colony Partners has deployed nearly $1 billion in capital in four investments to date, including a $200 million investment in Latin American telecoms operator Andean Telecom Partners and a $275 million acquisition of Finnish broadcast tower operator Digita. The fund has also backed Freshwave Group, a UK telecom platform, and Toronto-based Peer 1, a colocation services company.