ICE Asks EU to Take NYSE Euronext Deal to Avoid Multiple Probes

IntercontinentalExchange Inc. asked the European Union to review its plans to buy NYSE Euronext to avoid separate probes in three countries.

ICE made the request March 18 and intends to formally ask for EU approval at a later date, the company said in a regulatory filing today. The U.K. Office of Fair Trading and competition authorities in Spain and Portugal have 15 working days to object to the EU taking jurisdiction over the deal after the European Commission receives the company’s request.

“If no such national competition authority objects to the request, the European Commission will accept jurisdiction to review the mergers,” ICE said in the filing.

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. EU regulators blocked Deutsche Boerse AG’s purchase of NYSE last year, citing concern over competition in derivatives and clearing.

ICE said in January that it was required to file for approval in the U.K., Spain and Portugal.

The U.K. competition authority last year successfully blocked the EU from taking over the review of London Stock Exchange Group Plc’s takeover bid for LCH.Clearnet Group Ltd.

“If the U.K. wants to review the deal, they will find a reason,” said Peter Lenardos, an exchange analyst at RBC Capital Markets in London.

Elliott Ball, a press officer for the OFT in London, said companies that make more 70 million pounds ($106 million) in Britain or have a U.K. market share of more than 25 percent are usually subject to a U.K. review. He declined to comment on whether the regulator would object to an EU review.

‘Fairly Sure’

Companies won’t typically ask the EU to take on a deal unless they were “fairly sure that these authorities would not object to the commission’s taking jurisdiction,” said Emanuela Lecchi, a lawyer at Watson, Farley & Williams LLP in London.

The EU regulator said it refused requests by France, Spain and Portugal for it to take jurisdiction of the LSE deal from the OFT last year because of the U.K. stance and the advanced stage of talks between British regulators and the companies.

Claire Miller, a spokeswoman for ICE in London, said the company had no additional comment to make on its filing today. Caroline Nico, a spokeswoman for NYSE Euronext, also declined to comment.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.