16 December 2005 – By Jenny Davey The Times
THE Reuben brothers, the billionaire private investors, are poised to buy out Multiplex’s stake in Global Switch in a deal that values the internet hotel business at about £400 million, The Times has learnt.
It is understood that Simon and David Reuben are in detailed talks to acquire the Australian property group’s interest and that a deal could be finalised within the next few days.
Multiplex and the Reubens jointly own 75 per cent of Global Switch’s European business and 100 per cent of the group’s data centres in Sydney and Singapore. Aviva, the insurance company, owns a 25 per cent stake in Global Switch’s European business, which it will retain.
Global Switch, which offers back-up services, known as internet hotels, for large companies’ computer systems, owns a network of data centres in London, Paris, Madrid, Singapore, Sydney, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, spanning more than 2 million sq ft.
The deal marks the latest twist in the history of Global Switch, which was established in 1998 by Andy Ruhan, the Birmingham entrepreneur.
Chelsfield, the property company founded by Elliott Bernerd, acquired a stake in Global Switch in 2000 at the height of the technology boom, when Chelsfield was still a listed property company. It eventually took full control in 2002. The investment plunged Chelsfield into the red as losses at Global Switch spiralled after the collapse of the dot-com boom.
Global Switch has since bounced back and more than 100,000 sq ft of new lettings have been secured this year.
Its buildings have 24-hour security guards and 25 times the power and cooling requirements of a normal building.