The London Stock Exchange has rejected a fresh takeover bid from US bourse Nasdaq. The American stock market offered 3.98 billion euros but the LSE said it was not enough and its president has refused a meeting with main shareholder Nasdaq. The world’s stock markets are rushing to try to consolidate, under pressure from customers to cut fees and offer global services.
A tie-up between the New York Stock Exchange and Euronext would produce by far the world’s biggest stock market in terms of market value. However a Nasdaq-LSE union would create the world’s biggest exchange by number of listings. This Nasdaq bid is 40 per cent higher than its previous offer in March, but close to the level it paid for most of its stake.
The second-biggest US exchange has increased its stake in the LSE to just under 29 per cent, strengthening its hand against any possible counter-bid. Last week German exchange Deutsche Boerse abandoned its around eight billion euros offer for Euronext, dealing a blow to its hope of building a pan-European stock exchange.
Chief executive Reto Francioni said the goal was unachievable, and there was no point in continuing to work towards a merger with Euronext, which has repeatedly shot down their proposals. The German decision clears the way for the New York Stock Exchange to complete its acquisition of Euronext, and form the world’s first transatlantic stock exchange. The US exchange has forecast that the deal – which needs shareholder approval – will close in the first quarter of 2007. Euronext is scheduled to hold a general meeting in December to vote on the issue.