The Pan-European stock market group Euronext, is reportedly under pressure from some of its major shareholders to restart merger talks with Deutsche Börse and to abandon the idea of bidding for the London Stock Exchange. Banking sources say half a dozen European banks, which own around 10% of the shares in Euronext, have teamed up to push for a possible ‘merger of equals’ between it and the Frankfurt exchange.
The sources stressed that the talks are at a very early stage. Market operators are keen to join forces to reduce fees and provide economies of scale. At the start of this year London was the largest European exchange with just over 3,000 companies listed. Euronext is the second biggest and Deutsche Börse is the fourth after Madrid. Euronext declined to comment, saying its long standing unofficial bid for the London Stock Exchange remains on the table and it is still working with Britain’s competition Commission on how to make that happen.
The LSE meanwhile has again urged its shareholders to reject a hostile takeover bid – worth almost 2.2 billion euros – from Australia’s Macquarie Bank. And things were made more interesting this week by a report in the Wall Street Journal that the Nasdaq in New York is considering making a bid for the London market operator.