The boards of Nasdaq and OMX, supported by key shareholders from both groups, have entered into a tentative agreement to combine them. The US electronic stock exchange Nasdaq would pay 2.7 billion euros for OMX which operates the markets in Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Iceland and the Baltic states. The deal includes OMX’s computer trading technology business, which is widely used in world markets and accounts for over a third of its annual turnover.
Nasdaq was under pressure to get a deal done after its bid for the London Stock Exchange was rejected in February and as rivals push ahead with mergers. The New York Stock Exchange is joining Paris-based Euronext, while Deutsche Boerse is to buy the New York-based International Securities Exchange.
Nasdaq and OMX expect total pretax annual synergy savings of about 110 million euros. Industry consolidation is being driven by financial market liberalisation due later this year in Europe and investor demands for cheaper trading. In addition,investment banks plan to form their own European share trading platform.