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Tom Barrack To Step Down As Colony Capital Goes All In On Data Centers

Colony Capital founder Tom Barrack

Tom Barrack's second stint as Colony Capital CEO is coming to an end.

Barrack will step down from the position in the next 18 to 24 months and resume his previous duties as executive chairman, the company announced in a press release. The leadership change coincides with Colony's acquisition of digital infrastructure investment firm Digital Bridge for $325M.

In May, Colony and Digital Bridge closed on a $4.05B joint fund, called Digital Colony Partners, focused on data centers and other physical requirements for modern internet, the largest first-time fund in the sector, according to the release. Including the holdings within Digital Colony Partners, Digital Bridge manages $20B worth of physical assets, according to the release.

Once the merger between Colony and Digital Bridge is complete, Barrack will begin transferring responsibilities to Digital Bridge CEO Marc Ganzi. In a statement accompanying the release, Barrack said he has known Ganzi for over 20 years.

Barrack first stepped down as CEO of Colony Capital in 2014, passing the baton to Richard Saltzman, three years before the company agreed to acquire NorthStar Realty to create a $58B REIT called Colony NorthStar. The deal quickly soured when Colony realized the bad shape much of NorthStar's portfolio had been in, torpedoing the combined company's valuation.

As part of the recovery process, Barrack took back over from Saltzman in November and reverted the company name to Colony Capital. Barrack has since tried to strip Colony of its underperforming and noncore assets; most recently he was reported to be shopping subsidiary Colony Industrial for a potential price tag of $5B.

Before it is acquired by Colony, Digital Bridge is slated to complete its own acquisition of Zayo Group, another data center-focused investment company. With the combined assets of Digital Bridge and Zayo, Colony estimates it will manage a portfolio worth $60B.