A senior executive of Spain’s domestic stock exchange has stated his firm will look at acquiring European exchange operator Euronext, if it is sold as part of the NYSE Euronext-IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) merger.
Javier Hernani, managing director of Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (BME), told journalists in London on Monday the Spanish exchange group would investigate purchasing Euronext, operator of bourses in Paris, Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands.
“We will look at a Euronext deal – everybody will,” Hernani said. “So far we haven’t knocked on anybody’s door, but we will look at anything in the market, we always do,” he said.
Since US derivatives market operator ICE offered to buy NYSE Euronext for US$8.2 billion in December last year, a potential sale of Euronext has become heavily rumoured, with ICE most interested in using the merger to build its European derivatives franchise with the addition of NYSE Liffe.
Although ICE has indicated it would put Euronext out for an IPO as part of the merger, many market participants have questioned the value of this approach compared to an outright sale of the markets in question.
Euronext was merged with the New York Stock Exchange in 2007. Deutsche Börse, Nasdaq OMX and SIX Group are among the exchange groups that have already expressed interest in purchasing Euronext.
Hernani also stated BME would look to focus on developing its derivatives business as a core avenue of growth. Since January, when a seven-month short-selling ban was removed, BME has lost equity market share to multilateral trading facilities (MTFs), which have seen their collective share of Spanish stocks grow to around 10% at present, from around 3% before the ban.
Despite this, Hernani believes this figure will settle in coming months as the incumbent exchange attempts to rein in market share.