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Nasdaq pulls out of Oslo Bors battle, handing Euronext victory

Terje Solsvik
Published MAY 27, 2019

OSLO (Reuters) - Nasdaq withdrew its offer for Oslo Bors on Monday, giving pan-European exchange Euronext free rein to pursue its bid for the Norwegian stock market operator after a five-month battle.

Euronext secured approval from Norway’s Ministry of Finance this month to buy more than 50% of Oslo Bors for 158 Norwegian crowns per share, effectively blocking Nasdaq’s bid. Both had valued one of Europe’s few independent stock market operators at around 6.8 billion Norwegian crowns ($783 million).

Both Euronext, which runs exchanges in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Dublin, and Nasdaq are looking to expand their portfolios but opportunities are scarce as market operators either already belong to international groups or their shareholders want to remain independent.

With technology speeding up trading and deregulation leading to market integration, size has become an important feature for bourse operators as big data allows larger players to squeeze costs and reduce transaction fees.

The Oslo Bors acquisition is expected to diversify Euronext’s revenue from shares and derivatives trading, given the Norwegian operator’s leading position in seafood derivatives as well as oil services and shipping.

Euronext’s success blocks Nasdaq’s ambition of completing a sweep of the Nordic-Baltic region, where the U.S. firm already owns the stock markets of Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, as well as those of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Nasdaq, which had won the support of the Norwegian market operator’s major investors DNB and KLP, said it would now release those owners from their obligations.

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