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EU may veto NYSE/DB deal - reports

Wednesday 11 January 2012 - by

European competition officials look set to block the planned merger between Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext, reports suggest.

Competition commissioner Joacquín Alumnia is understood to have told the groups that he plans to veto the takeover - which would create the world's largest exchange group by listings - unless a compromise is reached.

Alumnia has told the pair that they would have to sell off one of their derivatives businesses to ensure the deal is approved, the FT reports, in a compromise move that executives have refused to make.

NYSE Euronext owns the New York Stock Exchange and similar stock exchanges in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, Paris, along with London-based derivatives exchange Liffe. Deutsche Börse owns the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and has its own derivatives exchange, Eurex.

Deutsche Börse chief executive Reto Francioni and NYSE Euronext chief Duncan Niederauer do not plan to offer any additional concessions to reignite the deal, the FT adds, quoting people familiar with their plans. The pair will meet on Wednesday in a previously scheduled get-together.

The commission has previously warned on the potential effects of the planned merger. Announcing an "in-depth" investigation into the takeover in August, it said that the merger could have a negative impact on innovation in derivatives products and technology solutions, while also threatening fee competition within the sector.

NYSE was however quick to denounce the reports, claiming that it has not received "any official decision" from the commission regarding the merger.

In a statement released on Tuesday, NYSE said: "Under the European Commission's formal process, any preliminary recommendation by the case team would subsequently be vetted and acted on by the entire European Commission. We look forward to pressing the case for this compelling transaction in that forum.

"The commission has announced that it will make its final ruling on whether to clear the proposed merger by February 9, 2012. As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on speculation."

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