SFR parent Altice France detailed plans to spin off its data centre assets into a separate company and sell a 70 per cent stake in the new entity to Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners as part of an ongoing strategy to improve its balance sheet.

The new business will be branded UltraEdge, with Altice promoting it as the country’s first nationwide independent distributed data centre operator.

It claimed UltraEdge would benefit from increasing demand for data storage nearer to the end user and continued growth in fibre and 5G.

Assets being shifted into the business comprise passive infrastructure and equipment in 257 data centres, along with related office space across the country, all of which are currently under the remit of SFR. The operator will retain ownership of servers and active equipment.

In its statement, Altice said the deal valued the whole of UltraEdge at €764 million and reflected its “strategy around balance sheet management”.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first half of 2024.