The New York Stock Exchange said Monday it had offered to buy Euronext to create a group valued at 16 billion euros ($21 billion), effectively ending Deutsche Börse's courtship of the pan-European exchange operator.
Celebrations are on hold on Wall Street as Euronext waits to choose a new partner
Deutsche Börse, the operator of the German stock exchange which had announced its own possible takeover bid last Friday, responded to the news by issuing a refusal to budge on the terms of its own offer, indicating it would not increase its bid or be drawn into a bidding battle with NYSE.
A deal between NYSE and Euronext would isolate Deutsche Börse and force the German operator to look for other partners in Europe.
Deutsche Börse denied a newspaper report which said the Frankfurt stock exchange was considering an all-share offer that would value each Euronext share at about 90 euros. "We deny the report in the Financial Times," it said in a statement.
"We issued a clear statement on Friday that we are planning a merger of partners with Euronext. Our proposals as they stand do not foresee the payment of a premium on top of the enterprise value of both firms," it added.
Deutsche Börse's plan for European dominance falters
Deutsche Börse insisted that its own negotiations with Euronext had not broken down. "We remain in contact with Euronext," it insisted.
In its bid to woo Euronext, Deutsche Börse had signaled last week that it was prepared to make important concessions on key issues, such as the site of the merged company's headquarters and on the future structure of the group. But investors appeared skeptical about Deutsche Börse's chances of success.
Sensing an opportunity to strike, NYSE made its move.
New York moves on Börse indecision
The merger of the NYSE and Euronext, which runs the Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon exchanges, would create the world's leading exchange, at almost three times the size of its nearest rival.
Euronext said its supervisory board would study the offers by the NYSE and by Deutsche Börse later Monday ahead of its annual general meeting in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
Any NYSE-Euronext partnership would be New York based
John A. Thain, chief executive officer of NYSE Group, said in a statement: "NYSE Euronext will be the world's most liquid and truly global financial marketplace offering unparalleled benefits for investors and issuers in the United States, Europe and across the globe."
The synergies generated by a merger would be 293 million euros, the NYSE said.
US exchanges flexing their muscles
The combined group would be listed in New York and in Paris and management would be shared between the current directors of Euronext and the NYSE.
Investors reacted warily to the announcement of the NYSE offer, with Euronext's share on the Paris CAC 40 exchange falling in late-morning trade by 2.28 percent to 72.90 euros.
Talk of a transatlantic tie-up between Euronext and the NYSE comes as New York's Nasdaq exchange, which is dominated by US technology listings including online search engine Google, is slowly increasing its share in the London Stock Exchange. Nasdaq said Friday it had increased its stake in the LSE to 25.1 percent.