NYX-DB Clears Hurdle

Terry Flanagan

Frankfurt’s Deutsche Borse announced on Tuesday that the proposed acquisition of New York’s NYSE Euronext had cleared another regulatory check, as part of a lengthy process which is expected to last until the end of the year.

“The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has completed its review of the Deutsche Borse and NYSE Euronext combination without objection to the transaction going forward,” said the German exchange operator in a release.

A spokesperson from Deutsche Borse declined to comment any further on the deal, while a NYSE spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

The CFIUS, which is comprised of representatives from the Department of the Treasury, Justice, Commerce, State, Defense and Homeland Security, reviews the national security implications for the U.S. of foreign investment in stateside companies. In its review of the deal, it concluded that there were no national security grounds to oppose the merger.

Robert Schwartz, professor of finance at Baruch College, believes that the deal would be a positive for the marketplace. “It’s a good thing, there will be a concentration of assets and cost savings,” he added.

The European Commission said on Aug. 5 that it had entered into the next phase of its investigation into the merger between NYSE and Deutsche Borse, following the conclusion of its initial review. During the first phase, the exchange operators’ peers, competitors, and other market participants were polled as to their concerns on the potential deal.

During the next phase, the European Commission will investigate the issues discovered in its initial review and come to a final decision regarding whether the proposed transaction would affect the competitive landscape in Europe. It has set a provisional deadline on Dec. 13 for when a decision will be made.

“The proposed merger would remove a strong competitor from the market and would give the merged company by far the leading position in derivatives trading in Europe,” Joaquin Almunia, the EC’s vice president of competition, said in an Aug. 5 release. “The commission needs to make sure that markets which are at the heart of the financial sector remain competitive and efficiently deliver to users.”

The companies expect to save as much as $3 billion in capital requirements through the deal, as well as reduce any duplicative infrastructures and operations. The shareholders from both companies approved the deal in July.

The deal between NYSE and Deutsche Borse set off a wave of exchange mergers around the world, most notably between the Singapore Stock Exchange and Australian Stock Exchange, and between TMX Group and the London Stock Exchange. Both deals were eventually scrapped because of a lack of support and regulatory issues.

“Who knows what sparks (exchange merger waves),” said Schwartz. “They do tend to come in clusters and they aren’t random events. A couple of the big guys get together and that stimulates competitive responses.”

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