The Planet, EV1Servers Are Acquired by GI Partners

The investment firm GI Partners has purchased a controlling interest in The Planet and EV1Servers, two of the industry's largest dedicated hosting specialists, according to industry sources. The new owner has lengthy experience in the hosting and data center business.

The Planet and EV1Servers are the fourth and seventh-largest hosting providers in the world, according to Netcraft's Hosting Provider Switching Analysis, and the top two dedicated hosting specialists. Each experienced explosive growth during the past three years, driven by the surging popularity of dedicated servers. The Planet, which is headquartered in Dallas, hosts 896K active sites and 1.3 million hostnames, while Houston-based EV1Servers is home to 685K active sites and 1.2 million hostnames.

Additional details of the deals are expected to be announced early next week by GI Partners. The Planet and EV1Servers will maintain independent operations and identities but may operate with a consolidated balance sheet, according to industry sources, who said customers are unlikely to see any immediate changes.

GI Partners was founded in 2001 with more than $500 million in financial backing from CB Richard Ellis Investors and CALPERS, the world's largest public pension fund. Its primary focus was the data center and Internet gateway sector, where it was able to acquire premier properties at attractive prices due to oversupply and bankruptcies in the hosting and telecom sectors. In 2004 the company bundled its 21 data center properties and created a real estate investment trust, Digital Realty Trust, which was taken public and now owns more than 10 million square feet of technology real estate.