EU blocks "near-monopoly" of D.Boerse-NYSE merger

Wed Feb 1, 2012 10:32am EST
 
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By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU regulators have blocked the tie-up of exchange operators Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext to stop them taking a stranglehold on the European futures market.

Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext, which unveiled the $7.4 billion plan to create the world's biggest stock exchange as long ago as February last year, said they would unwind the deal, the sector's fourth failed tie-up attempt in a year.

The European Commission consulted more than 700 market participants and stakeholders during its assessment and said in a 459-page document on Wednesday that the combined entity would make it hard for new players to compete.

"The merger between Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext would have led to a near-monopoly in European financial derivatives worldwide," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

"These markets are at the heart of the financial system, and it is crucial for the whole European economy that they remain competitive. We tried to find a solution, but the remedies offered fell far short of resolving the concerns."

Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext had refused to sell either the German operator's Eurex derivatives market operator or the U.S. company's London-based futures exchange Liffe to address such concerns.

END OF MEGA-DEALS?

Analysts said the regulatory veto might put a temporary brake on the next wave of deals.   Continued...