To reflect its growing investment in digital infrastructure, which it calls “a significant business transformation,” Colony Capital has changed its name to DigitalBridge.
The official name change happened on June 22, when the company became DigitalBridge Group, Inc., and began trading under a new NYSE ticker: DBRG. The new name “bridges” together the two-word name Digital Bridge, which was a company Colony Capital purchased in 2019, into a new one-word company name: DigitalBridge.
Also on June 22, the newly named DigitalBridge held its Investor Day event at which the company revealed that it now expects 2021 digital investment management revenue of $145 million to $155 million, up from its previous guidance of $140 million to $150 million. Further, for digital operating revenue, DigitalBridge now forecasts $130 million to $140 million in 2021 vs. prior forecast of $125 million to $130 million.
“We are pleased to have a name that reflects our singular focus on digital infrastructure, said Marc Ganzi, president and chief executive officer of DigitalBridge at the company’s June 22 Investor Day event. “Today we will be sharing our vision for DigitalBridge and provide insight into how we are executing on the opportunities to build and operate the networks that enable connectivity and power the digital economy. “As the world becomes increasingly digital, our firm is well-positioned to capitalize on the powerful secular tailwinds supporting investment in digital infrastructure.”
“Marc and the team have done an outstanding job reaching this significant milestone, and we believe the new name captures who we have become through this transformation and our new vision for the future,” added Nancy Curtin, chairperson of the Board. “As the digital economy continues to grow rapidly, DigitalBridge is well-positioned to capitalize on the powerful secular tailwinds supporting the continued investment in digital infrastructure.”
The newly branded DigitalBridge is a leading global digital infrastructure REIT (real estate investment trust). With a heritage of over 25 years investing in and operating businesses across the digital ecosystem including towers, data centers, fiber, small cells, and edge infrastructure, the DigitalBridge team manages a $32 billion portfolio of digital infrastructure assets on behalf of its limited partners and shareholders. DigitalBridge is headquartered in Boca Raton with key offices in Los Angeles, New York, London and Singapore.
Colony Capital first announced it was changing its name to DigitalBridge on June 8, and said it agreed to sell the bulk of its Other Equity & Debt (OED) portfolio of real estate assets to Fortress Investment Group for $535 million. That same day, Ganzi, then CEO of Colony Capital and CEO of Digital Bridge, said “The vision we crafted, bringing a digital infrastructure platform built on two decades of operating experience and deep industry relationships together with an institutional capital formation capability and global enterprise-grade operations, has reached its next phase.”
“Today as one company,” Ganzi said at the June 22 Investor Day event, “DigitalBridge is a unique digital infrastructure business, with both the operating DNA and access to institutional capital that positions us to execute globally on a converging digital infrastructure ecosystem. We are poised to build, operate, and finance a new era in connectivity, leveraging a single platform focused on the full spectrum of digital infrastructure including towers, data centers, fiber, and small cells.”
Ganzi added, “Today marks a new chapter in our history as we emerge from this transformation as a fast-growing global digital infrastructure REIT. I am proud of and humbled by what our team has accomplished in just the past two years, executing one of the most significant asset transitions in the history of REITs. We are on track to rotate $100 billion in AUM ‘from diversified to digital’ and are now 80 percent rotated on a pro forma basis, following our agreement, announced yesterday, to divest the bulk of our Other Equity & Debt (OED) business for over a half-billion dollars. This is the natural moment for us to reactivate DigitalBridge, advancing our strategy as we connect networks, companies, geographies, and communities on a global basis.”
To provide a background of DigitalBridge’s reformation: Back on July 25, 2019, Colony Capital purchased the former Digital Bridge for $325 million. Digital Bridge owned a broad range of communications infrastructure including Vertical Bridge and ExteNe, while Colony Capital was primarily a global real estate investment firm. At the time, the company reported that during the next two years, Marc Ganzi, a founder and CEO of Digital Bridge and a managing partner at Digital Colony (a combo of Digital Bridge and Colony Capital), would transition into the role of CEO of Colony Capital, succeeding Thomas J. Barrack Jr.
The Digital Bridge acquisition followed the May 2019 closing of a $4.05 billion fund sponsored by Digital Colony and Digital Bridge. Digital Bridge managed nearly $20 billion of digital infrastructure globally, directly and through Digital Colony Partners, and the combined portfolio of the two firms will be $60 billion of assets.
Prior to being purchased by Colony Capital, Digital Bridge was a holding company that invested in telecommunications infrastructure. Founded in 2013 by Marc Ganzi and Ben Jenkins, the holding company initially focused on cellular infrastructure, but later expanded to data centers, fiber networks, and other areas. In 2017, it bought data center company Vantage Data Centers Management for more than $1 billion.
Mike Harrington is a contributing editor