Nasdaq CEO says would definitely consider Euronext

Wed Jan 9, 2013 1:03pm EST
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By John McCrank

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nasdaq OMX Group would definitely consider bidding for Euronext, the operator of the Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon stock exchanges, if it were put up for sale, Nasdaq's Chief Executive Robert Greifeld said in an interview.

"We would have to take a look at it," he said. "I'm not saying we would bid on it, but we would have to take a look."

Chatter that Euronext could be spun off from NYSE Euronext quickly surfaced after IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) made an $8.2 billion bid for the New York Stock Exchange operator in December.

Greifeld said if Euronext were to become available, it would not likely be until sometime in 2014, as it would take several months for the ICE-NYSE deal to close and then the two companies would have to begin an integration process. That scenario would be positive as at that point there may be more clarity on where the macro-economic environment in Europe is headed, he added.

"It would be a harder decision now to decide whether to bid on it than it would be 15 months from now," he said.

Germany's Deutsche Boerse has lost its appetite for buying Euronext, because regulatory and technological changes have made it harder to earn big profits from stock trading, three people familiar with the Frankfurt-based company's thinking told Reuters.

Deutsche Boerse has made three attempts at combining with Euronext since 2003. The final attempt, made in 2011, was shot down by antitrust concerns over creating a dominant player in European derivatives.

When the ICE-NYSE deal was announced, the two companies said they had told regulators in Europe that they would spin Euronext off through an IPO process if that would help the deal pass regulatory muster. But a source familiar with the situation said European regulators still had not indicated if they would prefer Euronext to be separated from a combined ICE-NYSE.   Continued...

Robert Greifeld, CEO of the Nasdaq-OMX Stock Market, attends a news conference for the Campaign to Fix the Debt at the Nasdaq Market site in New York January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid