Chi-X and BATS cleared to create Europe’s top exchange

EQUITY trading platform BATS Global Markets was given the green light to buy rival Chi-X Europe by the competition watchdog yesterday, clearing a key hurdle to creating the biggest stock exchange in Europe.

The Competition Commission provisionally approved the plan for BATS, the small European arm of America’s second-biggest exchange, to buy Chi-X, Europe’s far larger regional operation.

BATS chief executive Joe Ratterman said the two companies were “pleased” at the outcome, which could “clear the way for the creation of an even stronger competitor to Europe’s incumbent exchanges”.

Chi-X and BATS offer investors trading in any stock listed on European markets rather than only those on one exchange such as London.

Chi-X has grown fast since its launch in 2007 to become Europe’s biggest equities exchange by volume, although the LSE remains the biggest in Europe by turnover. The news was not universally welcomed, as the takeover is expected to make 60 per cent of Chi-X’s workforce redundant and is also likely to discard the majority of its trading technology.

The Commission started probing the merger in July on concerns that the deal could cut competition in the market. Its final report is expected on 2 December.