NYSE rejects takeover bid from Nasdaq



NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange said Sunday that its board has rejected a takeover offer from the owner of Nasdaq and another rival exchange.

NYSE Euronext (NYX, Fortune 500) said it has reaffirmed a deal to merge with Germany's Deutsche Boerse. The two exchanges announced that merger, worth $10 billion, in February.

But earlier this month, Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ) and IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), more commonly referred to as ICE, unveiled an unsolicited offer to buy NYSE Euronext for $11.3 billion. That deal would have split the NYSE, with Nasdaq purchasing the stock and options exchanges and ICE acquiring the NYSE's derivatives business.

In a statement, NYSE Euronext chairman Jan-Michiel Hessels said that "breaking up NYSE Euronext, burdening the pieces with high levels of debt, and destroying its invaluable human capital, would be a strategic mistake in terms of where the global markets are going."

As part of the NYSE's deal with Deutsche Boerse, the new combined company would be 60% owned by Deutsche Boerse shareholders, with existing NYSE Euronext shareholders owning the remainder.

The two firms agreed to create a new Dutch holding company that will have headquarters in both New York and Frankfurt.

But the battle for the NYSE is far from over.

Nasdaq OMX and ICE denounced NYSE Euronext's decision, saying in a statement Sunday night that the NYSE "has summarily elected to deny its stockholders the opportunity to benefit from a clearly superior proposal." Nasdaq and ICE went on to say that the Deutsche Boerse's offer "is indisputably financially inferior."

Robert Greifeld, chief executive officer of NASDAQ OMX, said he hoped that NYSE Euronext would at least agree to meet to discuss the offer.

ICE chairman and CEO Jeffrey C. Sprecher added that the two companies will take their case to investors. He said he expects "that NYSE Euronext's stockholders will make their displeasure known" about the decision to turn down the higher bid.

Financial exchanges around the globe have been busy pairing up in order to diversify beyond the traditional business of stock trading and provide faster execution for large customers.

Earlier this year, the London Stock Exchange announced a merger with Canada's TMX Group, the owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange. To top of page

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