NYSE Euronext has moved a step closer to merging with Germany’s Deutsche Boerse.
A rival bid – worth 7.7 billion euros – from Nasdaq and IntercontinentalExchange has been withdrawn.
They pulled out because they did not believe they would get approval from competition regulators.
That highlights the problems of dealmaking in the closely regulated exchanges industry.
NYSE Euronext – with operations in New York, Amsterdam, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Britain- traded more companies than any other last year – 3,450.
In terms of numbers of companies traded, Nasdaq – which features mostly technology stocks – is second, then the London Stock Exchange and Tokyo.
At the same time the London Stock Exchange said it will press ahead with its take over of Toronto’s TMX after a group of Canadian banks and pension funds made a counter offer to prevent it falling into foreign hands. Their preliminary bid is 2.6 billion euros compared with the LSE’s 2.1 billion.
LSE’s chief executive Xavier Rolet said: “This will be good for both Canada and Europe. We want to create a new transatlantic competitor to take on some of the established players in the field.”
Analysts said if the Canadian deal unravels the LSE could find itself vulnerable to a takeover bid and some were even suggested that the LSE and Nasdaq might seek a tie up.
The London exchange has been a takeover target before. In 2004, Deutsche Boerse made a 1.3 billion pound offer for the LSE, while in 2007 Nasdaq failed in a hostile bid for the British bourse.