IXEurope, which operates 14 data centers in Europe, said today that it has been approached by several parties interested in buying the company, and may receive an offer. Shares of IXEurope Plc gained 8 percent in London trading. The company said a further announcement "would be made in due course" but didn't elaborate on the statement.
Reuters quoted Ian Mitchell, an analyst at Charles Stanley, as saying that Equinix (EQIX) was the most obvious buyer, since it serves a similar set of clients but doesn't currently own any facilties in the booming European market. In March Equinix raised $250 million in convertible notes, saying it would use the money for working capital and "the funding of the company's expansion activities."
The European data center industry has been actively growing, with activity accelerating this year. Digital Realty Trust (DLR) has been expanding aggressively in Europe, and is in the process of constructing new ground-up projects in Dublin and the London area. As a real estate investment trust, Digital typically acquires facilities through asset purchases rather than corporate acquisitions.
IXEurope has three data centers in London, which has perhaps the tightest supply of data center space of any major world market, and is in the process of building a fourth London data center. The company also operates six facilities in Germany, four in Switzerland and two in Paris (see the full list).