Nasdaq Says No Merger Discussions With LSE, Euronext

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Robert Greifeld said he’s not engaged in merger talks with London Stock Exchange Group Plc or Euronext NV, the European market operator on the verge of being spun off.

“We have a full-time job focused on what we are doing in the U.S.,” he said during an interview in London yesterday. Nasdaq OMX runs American equity and options exchanges as well as the Treasuries trading platform known as ESpeed. “We have more things going on now than at any other time in my term,” he added. “There is no hole in our arsenal.”

Greifeld’s 2006 attempt to buy LSE was rebuffed, although traders briefly bet five months ago that a merger was possible. Nasdaq has subsequently expanded through other deals, adding Nordic exchanges in 2008 as well as ESpeed and Thomson Reuters Corp.’s investor-relations unit in 2013. That strategy produced a 59 percent gain for shareholders last year, tying LSE for the fifth-biggest rally in the Bloomberg World Exchanges Index.

Nasdaq shares lost 1.8 percent today, the fourth-largest drop in the index.

IntercontinentalExchange Group Inc. is preparing to split Euronext through an initial public offering, separating the European stock exchanges it purchased with NYSE Euronext in November. ICE is trying to sell as much as a 30 percent stake before the IPO, three people familiar with the matter said in January.

Fresh Evaluation

ICE and Nasdaq tried unsuccessfully to purchase NYSE Euronext together in 2011, with Nasdaq offering to take ownership of the European stock markets now held by the soon-to-be-independent Euronext. Greifeld said four months ago that Nasdaq would evaluate buying Euronext should it become available for sale.

“We are focused on other aspects of our business plan in Europe,” Greifeld said yesterday when asked whether he’s interested in Euronext. “The Nordic expansion will lead us to greater success.”

Nasdaq operates seven Nordic and Baltic exchanges. Also in Europe, Nasdaq runs a futures market known as NLX.

An executive at Bolsas & Mercados Espanoles, operator of the Spanish stock exchange, said earlier this week that his firm won’t purchase a Euronext stake before the IPO.

Spokeswomen Lucie Holloway of LSE in London, Caroline Nico Euronext in Paris and Claire Miller of ICE in London declined to comment.

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