EU set to axe Deutsche and NYSE merger

THE HEADS of NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Boerse are set to hold urgent talks today to try to stop regulators ripping up their $9bn (£5.81bn) merger.

Duncan Niederauer and Reto Francioni, the respective chief executives, are expected to meet in New York after it appeared the European competition commissioner would veto the deal to create the world’s largest exchange group

Regulator Joaquín Almunia has reportedly told NYSE and Deutsche he will only allow the merger if they perform a U-turn and agree to sell one of their main derivatives businesses.

The two firms have been engaged in frantic lobbying since the deal was agreed in February because of fears the merged entity would have a monopoly in European futures and options.

The EU antitrust case team and Almunia work together but it remains unclear whether Almunia shares the views of the team. An EU source said it is likely that a draft proposal on the decision is out now but the commission could not be contacted last night.

Deutsche and NYSE said they have not received a decision from the European Commission and expect the final ruling by 9 February.

They added: “We have also proposed substantial and tangible concessions that address the EC’s competition concerns and further contribute to the creation of a stable, regulated pan-European exchange infrastructure that would ensure Europe’s competitiveness in an increasingly competitive global market, and deliver significant benefits to participants in the real economy.”

FACTS | DEUTSCHE BOERSE & NYSE

● The exchanges claim the merger will boost stability and transparency in European markets
● Possible concessions include spinning off parts of NYSE’s futures trading arm and improving rivals’ access to Deutsche’s clearing unit