Pan-European exchange Euronext has won approval by the Norwegian watchdog for its proposed takeover of Oslo Bors amid a battle with Nasdaq.
The Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) said Euronext would be a "suitable owner" of the Norwegian stock exchange.
But the FSA has also ruled Nasdaq would be a suitable owner of Oslo Bors and the Norwegian Ministry of Finance could now step in to choose between the candidates.
The European operator has been locked in an intense battle with Nasdaq over Oslo Bors since the end of last year.
Both offers of 158 Norwegian kroner per share value the business at around 6.8bn Norwegian kroner (£600m).
Euronext’s offer has the backing of shareholders representing 53.2 per cent of the company, but Oslo Bors has publicly backed Nasdaq’s bid.
Euronext said today that the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) had recommended its bid – leaving approval from the Ministry of Finance as the final needed to complete the deal.
But the FSA has also said that Nasdaq would also be a “fit and proper owner” of Oslo Bors, and the ministry is now expected to weigh in over the next two months.
Euronext chief executive Stephane Boujnah remained confident of securing the deal.
He said: “Euronext is convinced it is the best owner for Oslo Børs VPS, and welcomes the positive recommendation of the Norwegian financial supervisory authority to the Ministry of Finance that Euronext should be approved as a suitable owner of up to 100 percent of Oslo Børs VPS capital, as applied for, without ownership or other restrictions.”
Last month Boujnah told City A.M. that despite the noise from Nasdaq, he was “determined and confident.”
He said: "I believe the dust will settle and at the end of the day there are hard facts and applicable rules and regulations, which should lead to a normal outcome with the rights of shareholders being respected."