Deutsche Boerse AG, operator of the Frankfurt exchange, would inspect NYSE Euronext’s European stock markets if they were offered for sale following a merger with IntercontinentalExchange Inc., Chairman Joachim Faber said.
“Everybody will have a look at it, but we will appreciate whether this makes sense for the organization and particularly also for our shareholders,” Faber, chairman of the supervisory board, said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, today. “Cash businesses and the stock-exchange markets are not the highest yielding and highest return businesses. So we will have a cautious view and, if at all, will only do it with a smart solution.”
ICE, the 12-year-old energy and commodity futures bourse, agreed on Dec. 21 to acquire NYSE Euronext for cash and stock worth $8.2 billion. European regulators blocked Deutsche Boerse’s purchase of NYSE last year, citing concern over competition in derivatives and clearing and rejecting arguments the combined exchange would be a regional champion.
NYSE Euronext and ICE said in December they plan to explore an initial public offering for the Euronext division, which operates exchanges in Paris, Lisbon, Brussels and Amsterdam. NYSE Chief Executive Officer Duncan Niederauer said in a Jan. 16 Bloomberg Television interview that the unit is not for sale.
Euronext might also also attract interest from Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., the second-largest U.S. equity exchange.
“If there was a sale, we would be remiss if we didn’t evaluate it,” Robert Greifeld, Nasdaq OMX’s chief executive officer said in a Jan. 17 interview. “We would take a look, but we evaluate about 100 opportunities a year and pull the trigger on very few of them.”
Faber, the former head of asset management at Allianz SE, said Deutsche Boerse is confident about its future, echoing comments this week by Reto Francioni, chief executive officer of Deutsche Boerse.
“We will probably have another good equity year,” Faber said. “On the other hand, we will certainly also have -- at least from the banking community -- reduced trading volumes. So I’m not quite sure whether this will be a rapid increase. But it is not a bleak outlook.”