EU’s Barnier to Seek Debate on Planned Veto of Deutsche Boerse-NYSE Merger

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s financial services chief, will seek a debate on Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1)’s takeover of NYSE Euronext (NRX) ahead of any decision to block the combination, an EU official said.

Barnier considers the ruling too important to Europe’s financial-services industry to be approved without a discussion among fellow commissioners, said the official, who couldn’t be identified because the talks are private.

The European Commission will decide tomorrow whether to back a recommendation from Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, to veto the deal because it would monopolize derivatives trading in the region. The commission is run by a 27-member college that must approve EU rulings.

NYSE and Deutsche Boerse appealed directly to commission President Jose Barroso earlier this month to try and salvage their merger, arguing that an EU ban would harm European exchanges and drive business to other parts of the world. Deutsche Boerse agreed to acquire its New York rival in a deal valued at $9.5 billion when it was announced last February. Since then, the value has plummeted to about $7.3 billion.

Under commission rules, a veto could be approved without debate if no one objects. The exchanges lack support from other commissioners to overturn the ban, people familiar with the decision said earlier this month.

Allowing the deal to go ahead would cause “serious” concerns, Almunia said last week.

“Some problems of competition will not be solved by this merger but will be aggravated,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Davos, Switzerland.

A merger prohibition would be the EU’s fourth since 2004, when it overhauled its rules for reviewing deals.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jim Brunsden in Brussels at jbrunsden@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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