Nasdaq, ICE seek support for bid for NYSE

By Pallavi Gogoi

Associated Press

Published: Monday, May 9 2011 9:19 a.m. MDT

NEW YORK — Nasdaq and IntercontinentalExchange reached out directly to the shareholders of the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange in its unsolicited bid to acquire the exchange owner.

On Monday, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE) issued a letter to NYSE Euronext shareholders saying that the NYSE board is rushing them to a vote without exploring better alternatives. The two exchanges hope that shareholders will put pressure on NYSE's board to consider Nasdaq and Intercontinental's bid for NYSE Euronext which is worth about $11 billion.

The parent company of NYSE has twice rejected the joint bid from Nasdaq and ICE saying it is committed to its previously agreed-to $10 billion merger with German exchange operator Deutsche Boerse, despite the lower price. NYSE shareholders are scheduled to vote in early July on the merger with the German company.

Executives from Nasdaq and ICE have expressed disappointment that NYSE has refused to even meet with them to consider their higher takeover bid. They have also started an exchange offer to jointly acquire all of the outstanding shares of NYSE Euronext for $11 billion.

They hope to build on NYSE's contentious annual meeting on April 28, where shareholders expressed concern about the fact that the NYSE board is not considering the higher takeover bid.

The letter sought to bring focus on the regulatory challenges that face the Deutsche Boerse transaction in Europe. It cites Dominique Cerutti, deputy CEO of NYSE Euronext, who has said that it would take until March 2012 to win regulatory approval from the European Union.

The letter points out that if the proposed Deutsche Boerse transaction is approved by stockholders in July, it would be impossible to consider the financially superior proposal later.

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