$22bn invested in data centres so far in 2024 with the United States and Europe attracting highest levels of investment

In the first five months of 2024, $22bn was invested globally in data centres. This follows a noteworthy year of activity, 2023 witnessed a significant $36bn in global investment in data centres, marking it as the second-largest investment year in the past decade. Data analysis from global law firm Linklaters* has revealed that the United States and Europe are emerging as the dominant jurisdictions.

This year’s figures set a positive tone for the year ahead and underscore the increasingly critical role that data centres play in supporting the expanding digital economy.

North America and Europe: Powerhouses of Data Centre Investments

  1. Data centre transaction values have seen North America maintaining its lead, accounting for an impressive 62% of the global total in 2023 and 69% of investments up to April 2024, equating to $15bn invested, with the United States taking the largest share of the total.
  2. Europe has shown a notable surge in activity, increasing its share from 6% in 2022 to 20% in 2023. So far in 2024, over $7bn has been invested in data centres across Europe taking a 29% share. This shift highlights Europe's growing importance in the data centre market.
  3. While North America continues to hold a significant portion of activity, Europe stands out as the only region to build a year-over-year increase in transaction volume in 2023.


Rich Jones, TMT Partner at Linklaters:

“There is currently a real clamour for involvement in the data centre market, which is brought about by the sheer demand for data centre capacity (and the widely-accepted projections for the demand’s continued growth). Increasingly complex structures are now being used on data centre transactions, to open up the market as widely as possible and attract even investors who have not historically invested in digital infrastructure.”
“With developers facing growing challenges in relation to resources (such as power supply and cooling), environmental requirements, financing, supply chains and local authority permits, data centre owners are using corporate structuring to put finished or “stabilised” data centre assets into separate corporate entities. Doing this helps to isolate investors from some of the risks of data centre development, and thereby encourages investment from funds and financial sponsors who would not typically have the appetite for the digital infrastructure market at all.”
“This ability for new types of investors to be involved in the data centre market in turn fuels further investment demand (and exacerbates the development challenges) - it’s certainly an active time for the sector.”

Josh Feit, Counsel at Linklaters based in the United States:

“The substantial investment in data centers across North America underscores the critical role that data management and storage play in the modern economy and the high demand for cloud services and robust infrastructure to support data-intensive applications. Both the public and private sector are playing a role in this expansion: multiple state governments are facilitating the growth through the provision of low property and sales tax rates, while private companies are investing in cutting-edge technologies to create data centers that are competitive on a global scale, and aim to satisfy the sector’s accelerating electricity demands via clean energy technologies, such as solar power, which may trigger further tax incentive eligibility.”

European breakdown: France and Italy emerge as new hot spots

  1. France is starting to emerge as a new jurisdiction to watch with nearly $4bn channelled into the sector through six M&A transactions in 2023. However, a significant level of investment came from Brookfield's acquisition of the Data4 data centre from AXA Investment Managers Real Assets for $3.8 billion, a transaction led by Linklaters.
  2. Italy is emerging as a new hotspot for data centre investment, with over $1bn in greenfield investment across three deals. This includes the construction of two 40 MW hyperscale data centres in Bellini and near Milan.
  3. In the last 5 years, 30% of data centre investment in Europe has been in the UK, a total of around $7bn over this period has been invested.

Daniel Law, Financial Sponsor Partner at Linklaters:

"Appetite for data centres within Europe is growing exponentially, driven by evolving technology such as AI. This surge in demand is fuelling a wave of investment geared towards developing robust digital infrastructure capable of supporting the continent's growing data needs.”
“Private equity and other financial sponsors continue to be a driving force behind much of the activity in the last eighteen months. Some sponsors are having to get more creative when it comes to liquidity, as many of these data centre platforms are now incredibly large and for investors it could be hard to sell off their stakes. Some will look to IPO as a possible exit strategy. Others will look to sell partial stakes and/or bring in long-term hold investors alongside traditional private equity investors, with different holders selling down over time.”

Linklaters is at the cutting-edge of the digital infrastructure sector and the remit of the team has widened as the market has grown to incorporate a growing number of digital infrastructure assets, including data centres, fibre, towers and satellites.

These transactions often involve multiple complexities of bespoke corporate and financing structures, an increasingly regulated investment sector, and complex development and offtake contracts driving value, playing into the combined strengths of our market leading corporate, finance, telecoms and regulatory teams.

In 2024 Linklaters have already been involved in a number of landmark deals including advising Ardian on the acquisition of leading data centre platform Verne, Brookfield's acquisition of the Data4 data centre from AXA Investment Managers Real Assets for $3.8 billion and EXA Infrastructure sale of seven edge data centres in Europe. The platform also continues to advise DigitalBridge and Vantage Data Centers:

*Based on Linklaters analysis of Inframation data.