Despite NYSE deal, Deutsche Boerse plans to pursue Euronext
But a hedge fund with stake in all 3 parties backs pact
PARIS -- As officials of the New York Stock Exchange and Euronext celebrated their proposed $9.96 billion union yesterday, rival bidder Deutsche Boerse AG said it has no intention of abandoning its pursuit of Euronext and its four European stock exchanges.
Even as NYSE Group Inc. chief executive John Thain and Euronext chairman Jan-Michiel Hessels held a news conference to explain their deal, Deutsche Boerse issued a statement reiterating that its bid, which Euronext executives advised shareholders against, was a good offer.
The NYSE agreed Thursday to buy Euronext, which operates the Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Lisbon exchanges, for cash and stock. Deutsche Boerse has not revealed its bid, but analysts have estimated it to be around $11 billion while requiring the combined company to carry more debt than the NYSE offer.
Deutsche Boerse's persistence reflects the drive among stock exchanges to consolidate and extend their reach.
A marriage between NYSE and Euronext would handle a staggering $2.1 trillion in stock trades each month and boast a market value of about $20 billion.
NYSE and Euronext officials stood by their deal to form NYSE Euronext.
``We are fine with the New York Stock Exchange; we are committed to do this deal," Hessels said when asked about Deutsche Boerse's intentions. ``We're obliged to listen to anything that makes sense or adds value."
``But, again, we have signed and are committed," said Hessels, who would be chairman of the combined company.
Thain, who would remain chief executive, denied there would be a bidding war for Euronext and predicted the deal would be completed in about six months. He pointed out that US hedge fund Atticus Capital -- a major shareholder in Euronext -- is supporting the NYSE deal.
``That shareholder is the biggest shareholder of the New York Stock Exchange and is one of the biggest in Euronext," Thain said. ``This is a very significant shareholder who says this transaction makes sense to them."
Atticus controls a roughly 9 percent stake in Euronext, 6 percent in NYSE, and 5 percent in Deutsche Boerse.