Battle brewing over NYSE

By Vikram Barhat | April 1, 2011 | Last updated on April 1, 2011
2 min read

There is a new twist in the tale of global exchange consolidation. Nasdaq OMX Group and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) have made a $11.3 billion hostile bid for NYSC Euronext, adding a 19% premium to the proposed Deutsche Boerse deal announced February 10.

Analysts on both sides of the Atlantic have pointed out that the latest announcement comes as a relief to many U.S. and European politicians who were uncomfortable with the NYSE and Deutsche deal. In the U.S., especially, they are afraid of the foreign takeover of the NYSE.

Robert Greifeld, CEO of Nasdaq OMX, said: “Our industry is undergoing a period of historic change. During the last five years more than 90% of the top 100 global listings chose not to list in the U.S., depriving U.S. investors of the opportunity to easily invest and trade in these companies. The combination of the two leading U.S. exchanges delivers an opportunity to build a global exchange platform that has the scale and growth potential to benefit investors, issuers and other market participants.”

Although it is too early to assess if the deal will get the nod or if Deutsche Boerse will respond with a counteroffer, the U.S. market certainly thinks that Nasdaq and ICE have enough firepower to outdo Deutsche Boerse. So far the NYSE Euronext board has agreed to review the new proposal.

With 50% market share of options and 50% market share of trading, the merged entity would likely combine all the listings in the U.S. under one roof.

Under the terms of the transaction, ICE would get NYSE’s derivatives business and Nadasq would acquire the rest, including stock trading and options in the U.S.

Jeffrey C. Sprecher, chairman and chief executive officer of ICE, said: “Given the dynamics in derivatives markets today, the pace of innovation and the need for competition, we are well positioned to bring more value to stockholders by ensuring that Liffe [the global derivatives business of the NYSE Euronext group] participates in the growth opportunities in our space.”

The transaction would afford Nasdaq a competitive edge as it vies with younger and more agile international competitors. U.S. burses have been losing ground in a changing global market where size and scale matter considerably.

Acquisition of the NYSE’s cash equities business would place Nasdaq amongst the biggest global players in stock trading.

Vikram Barhat