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The buyout firm will pay $78 per share for the QTS stock.

Investment firm Blackstone Group will buy data center operator QTS Realty Trust for about $6.7 billion, according to a report in Reuters. Citing the Wall Street Journal as a source, the Reuters article said that Blackstone’s infrastructure unit along with its non-traded real-estate investment trust will pay $78 per share for QTS, according to the report. Including debt, the deal has a value of about $10 billion, the companies said. The price represents a premium of about 21% to QTS’ closing price on Friday.

A COVID-19 pandemic-led remote working environment boosted demand for cloud services, which are reliant on data centers. QTS has more than 7 million square feet of data center space throughout North America and Europe.

QTC has a 40-day period to shop around

Greg Blank, senior managing director at Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, praised the deal. “QTS aligns with one of Blackstone’s highest conviction themes–data proliferation,” he said. “The required investment makes it well suited as a long-term holding for our perpetual capital vehicles.”

Under the merger agreement, QTS will have a so-called go-shop period that lasts 40 days, the companies said. During that time, the data-center company can solicit and consider alternative acquisition proposals. “We are confident this transaction is the right step to achieve our strategic objectives in our next phase of growth,” QTS CEO Chad Williams added.

The merger between Blackstone and QTS is expected to be completed during the second half of the year.