Nasdaq could muscle in on NYSE-DB deal

Marion Dakers
US stock exchange Nasdaq is mulling a bid for NYSE Euronext, sources said yesterday, in a move that has the potential to scupper NYSE’s $9.5bn (£5.9bn) planned merger with Deutsche Boerse.

Nasdaq, which is valued at $5.7bn, is thought to be looking at muscling in on the NYSE deal to avoid becoming a takeover target itself in the ongoing flurry of M&A among global exchanges.

Bourses have blamed growing cost pressures and competition from newer platforms for the spate of consolidation.

Nasdaq declined to comment.

London Stock Exchange chief executive Xavier Rolet, who is currently steering his own exchange through a £4.3bn merger with Canada’s TMX, warned yesterday that the NYSE-Deutsche Boerse deal could face competition hurdles.

“There’s going to be big competition issues, because between them, they control 93 per cent of equity and index derivatives in Europe,” Rolet said in an interview.

“It cannot be said this is going to be anything but a monopoly, because it will be,” he added.

Rolet said M&A is inevitable in the current market. “In five years there’ll be three, four international exchange groups with global distribution capabilities,” he said.

The London Stock Exchange’s merger with Canadian operator TMX, which was revealed earlier this month, also came in for criticism yesterday.

The head of Ontario’s securities regulator said yesterday it will look closely at the value of the tie-in, echoing the country’s resistance of miner BHP Billiton’s $39bn takeover bid for Potash Corp last year. Ontario Securities Commission chairman Howard Wetson said in a speech: “I can’t define public interest but I sure know it when I see it.”

Meanwhile, Chicago Board Options Exchange’s parent said yesterday it was now formally open to “strategic transactions” such as a sale or merger with another exchange operator.