Interxion has been standing on the sidelines for about a year, first watching its former merger partner, TelecityGroup, instead marry Equinix (EQIX - Get Report) in May 2015 and then seeing Equinix subsequently sell a portfolio of data centers to Digital Realty Trust (DLR - Get Report) last month to comply with regulators.
But the Dutch data center operator isn't likely to be left in the cold much longer, according to company followers who say Schiphol-Rijk, Netherlands-based Interxion will likely attract interest from American strategics including Digital Realty Trust, CoreSite Realty (COR - Get Report) and CyrusOne (CONE - Get Report) and fetch a price tag of around $3 billion in a sale.
Digital Realty, which will likely focus on integrating its Telx Group Inc. and Equinix acquisitions in the near term, could next take a look at Interxion, said Jefferies analyst Milan Radia via phone, though he acknowledged that there's no pressure for the data center operator to do so.
Radia added that CoreSite Realty could also merge with the target, but noted that Digital Realty could break up the tie-up.
The data center sector continues to enjoy an elevated level of M&A and vibrant demand for storage, said Burke & Quick Partners analyst Fred Moran via phone.
"Any of the publicly traded U.S. data centers could, at any point, take a look at Interxion and consider merging to immediately go global," he said.
He also mentioned CyrusOne as a potential suitor of Interxion, since the Carrollton, Texas-based comapny has expressed its interest in expanding its footprint overseas.
Stifel Nicolaus analyst Matt Heinz agreed.
Digital Realty buying the Equinix portfolio doesn't signal that the data center operator is done with its European expansion, he said.
He asserted that Digital Realty will continue to look for more opportunities in Europe largely through M&A and Interxion would be a logical fit.
Between CoreSite and CyrusOne, Denver-based CoreSite has more of a strategic fit with Interxion as the two share similar strategies and cultures, Heinz added.
At the same time, CoreSite has been quiet on the deal front and that's unlikely to change soon. CyrusOne, on the other hand, has emerged as a key player in the sector over the last several months, having purchased Cervalis Holdings LLC and a Chicago data center from futures exchange company CME (CME - Get Report) .
In a sale, Interxion is likely to fetch a multiple of 14 times to 16 times, according to both Heinz and Burke & Quick's Moran.
Officials with Interxion, CoreSite, CyrusOne and Digital Realty didn't return requests for comment Monday.
In January, Redwood City, Calif.-based Equinix completed its $3.8 billion acquisition of TelecityGroup, which had initially agreed to buy Interxion Holding for $2.1 billion in February 2015.
Equinix last month sold European data centers as part of regulatory requirements for the TelecityGroup acquisition, with Digital Realty Trust paying $874.4 million, or about 13 times the centers' 2016 Ebitda.
Digital Realty's entrance into that sales process wasn't a total surprise as the market speculated last summer that the San Francisco data center REIT with a $14.81 billion market valuation would make a bid for Telecity. Digital Realty later acknowledged, however, that it didn't intend to make the offer.
When Equinix retained RBC Capital Markets to lead the regulatory-driven sales process of the European facilities, some company followers suggested that Interxion could also express interest in the assets in Amsterdam, London and Frankfurt.
Equinix was likely willing to take a price cut to sell the portfolio to anyone but Interxion, said Jefferies' Radia, adding that Interxion is now Equinix's main rival in the European market.
Stifel, Nicolaus' Heinz also believes that Interxion was likely interested in some Equinix-Telecity assets----especially the data centers in Amsterdam----that were on the block earlier this year.
Interxion has about €181 million ($205.6 million) in Ebitda. Under this benchmark, Interxion could be valued at between €2.5 billion ($2.8 million) and €2.9 billion, or a share price in the mid-$40s. Shares are up about 24.7% year-to-date, closing at $37.64 Monday.
Interxion is already trading with some M&A premium taken into consideration, Heinz noted.
That may not be too surprising, since this year is off to a strong start for the data center group and data center operators enjoyed a record-setting 2015 on the deal front.
Currently, CenturyLink (CTL - Get Report) is in the second round of its data center auction via Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Verizon Communications (VZ - Get Report) has also been working with Citigroup for the sales process of its data centers since the start of 2016.