Bats Chi-X Deal Nears Completion

Terry Flanagan

The two European trading platform operators move one step closer to completion of their proposed tie-up.

The two merger partners jointly announced that the U.K. Competition Commission has provisionally approved the transaction.

“We are pleased by the Competition Commission’s provisional findings, which if reflected in the final report, will clear the way for the creation of an even stronger competitor to Europe’s incumbent exchanges,” said Joe Ratterman, chairman and chief executive officer of Bats Global Markets in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with the Commission throughout the duration of the inquiry.”

A spokesperson for Bats declined to comment any further than what was in the release.

According to a statement from the Competition Commission, it was concluded that the proposed transaction would not cause any competition imbalances in the country, as customers of either multilateral trading facility could simply “take their business elsewhere.”

“The customers of both these exchanges are in a particularly powerful position to combat any attempt by the merged company to raise trading fees, reduce service quality or otherwise exploit any loss of competition,” said Malcolm Nicholson, chairman of the Bats/Chi-X Inquiry Group.”

The commission is expected to have a decision regarding the merger on December 2. Approval from the Competition Commission is the final regulatory hurdle before the transaction can close.

The deal has not been met with any significant resistance as it awaits regulatory approval. Chi-X Europe’s main competitor, the London Stock Exchange Group, had voiced its non-opposition to the merger earlier in the year when it testified in front of the Competition Commission.

“The LSE did not consider that the proposed merger would result in increased or decreased prices,” said the London exchange operator during its testimony in front of the U.K. Competition Commission in July. “If the proposed merger completed or not, both the LSE’s and Turquoise’s strategy would be to compete and grow.”

Bats in May announced plans to go public in a $100 million initial public offering. Initially slated for late 2011, the IPO is now expected to occur in early 2012 as the company awaits the outcome of the Chi-X Europe acquisition.

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