ICE CEO Sprecher Says He’s Open to Altering NYSE Takeover Terms
IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE) Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Sprecher said he is open to changing the terms of his joint unsolicited bid with Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ) to buy NYSE Euronext (NYX) if the company will meet with him.
“We have the ability to lever up if we wanted to,” Sprecher said at a UBS AG conference today in New York. “That doesn’t mean to pay more, but to change the consideration between debt and equity. If we entered into a negotiation, we could certainly think about a different form of consideration, or mix of cash and equity.”
ICE and New York-based Nasdaq OMX offered to buy the operator of the New York Stock Exchange on April 1, a month and a half after Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1), in Frankfurt, agreed to buy the company. NYSE Euronext’s board of directors has twice rejected the Nasdaq OMX-ICE offer, saying that although the companies are offering 11 percent more per share than the Deutsche Boerse price, a deal with them would lead to too much debt and more regulatory hurdles.
In the proposal, Nasdaq OMX and ICE would split NYSE Euronext, with Nasdaq OMX keeping the stock and options trading units and the listings business and ICE taking the Liffe futures business. Atlanta-based ICE said April 1 it would pay $4.7 billion of its stock and $1.7 billion in cash for its portion of the offer. It would assume none of NYSE Euronext’s debt.
The chance to buy NYSE Euronext’s Liffe business is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Sprecher also said today.
“The opportunity to buy Liffe at a fair price is not something that’s going to come along very often,” he said. “It’s owed to the unique position we’re in right with Nasdaq and NYSE potentially being able to come together.”
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