Pan-European stock market operator Euronext raised its offer for Norwegian counterpart Oslo Bors today, as it doubles down in a bidding war against rival Nasdaq.
Boosting its per-share takeover offer from 145 Norwegian kroner to 158 Norwegian kroner (1,295p to 1,411p per share), Euronext has given Oslo Bors until 11 March to make a decision.
It comes after Nasdaq beat Euronext’s bid for one of the market’s last independent stock market operators over a week ago with a 152 Norwegian kroner per share offer, which valued Oslo Bors at 6.54bn kroner (£590m).
Euronext’s latest offer values the exchange operator at 6.79bn kroner, far higher than its December offer of 6.24bn kroner.
“We strongly believe that a combination with Euronext provides Oslo Bors with clear and superior benefits compared to any other offer,” said Euronext chief executive Stephane Boujnah.
“Oslo Bors will maintain its identity and integrity within Euronext’s decentralised model with a strong impact on the future strategy of the enlarged group.
The operator has support from 50.5 per cent of Oslo Bors for a takeover.
However, Oslo Bors’s management has so far backed Nasdaq’s bid as the better offer for the company, saying that a higher rival bid would not change the board’s mind.
But shareholders supporting Euronext’s bid had pledged to “irrevocably” tender their shares at the offered price – even in the face of a higher offer.
Euronext operates in Dublin, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Paris and Brussels and is seeking to expand its number of exchanges.
Speaking in support of his firm’s bid, Boujinah asserted that a takeover would bolster Oslo’s status as a financial centre.
“Oslo Bors employees will be empowered to develop the satisfaction of their clients, with the ability to shape the future for Euronext and for the Norwegian economy,” he added.
“Oslo Bors and Norway will be represented at the managing and supervisory boards of Euronext at group level.
“Leading representatives of the Norwegian financial community are welcome to remain as shareholders and become partners of Euronext. We are open to discuss with all stakeholders to present our long-term ambition to create a leading exchange player in the Nordics based in Oslo.”