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Nasdaq's latest bid for London exchange fails

February 11, 2007|From the Associated Press

LONDON — The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. failed for the second time in a year to win control of the London Stock Exchange, revealing Saturday that its $5.3-billion hostile bid had been spurned by the British bourse's shareholders.

Nasdaq, which abandoned its first attempt at the London exchange several months ago, had extended its current offer by two weeks in an attempt to win over more shareholders -- a move that proved fruitless.

In the end, the New York-based exchange received acceptances worth just 0.41% of the London exchange's ordinary shares in return for its $24.35-per-share bid.

Even added to the 28.75% share holding Nasdaq built up by buying in the market in recent months, that remained well short of the 50% it needed to begin taking control.

Reflecting the increasingly acrimonious battle between the two exchanges in recent months, Nasdaq stood by its claims that the London exchange was overvalued, while the latter's board said it looked forward to going about its business "without the distraction of ill-considered approaches which fail to understand the value of the business."

Nasdaq was one of many suitors for the London Stock Exchange in recent years -- Germany's Deutsche Boerse and Australia's Macquarie Bank Ltd. made formal approaches, and Paris-based Euronext expressed interest without naming a price -- amid increasing pressure on stock exchanges to find merger partners so they can compete globally.

A combination of Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange would have created the world's second transatlantic exchange, with about 6,400 listed companies carrying a total market value of $11.8 trillion.

Nasdaq is now barred under British takeover law from renewing its bid for a year.

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