IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), the Atlanta-headquartered derivatives exchange and clearing house operator, said this week its planned acquisition of NYSE Euronext should pass all regulatory and shareholder approvals by 4 November.
The exchange groups said the closing date for the transaction depends on receipt of outstanding European regulatory approvals. NYSE Euronext shareholders have been set a 31 October deadline for merger consideration elections of stock and/or cash consideration.
Transition to ICE Clear Europe of clearing for NYSE Liffe, the London-based listed derivatives market owned by NYSE Euronext, was completed in July.
But ICE’s further plans for other acquired assets are subject to further clarification. Plans to float Euronext – which consists stock exchanges located in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon – were confirmed in April, with the move seen as easing European regulatory approvals and enabling the merged entity to retain a primary focus on its domestic US market.
An initial public offering in the second half of 2014 has been mooted, but ICE is believed to be open to discussions leading to a trade sale to an existing exchange operator. To date, a number of private equity-backed bids have been rumoured but no firm bids have been made. It is also unclear what terms of access a buyer would be granted to existing NYSE Euronext assets such as the Universal Trading Platform that underpins all the firm’s trading venues or NYSE Technologies, the group’s technology division. Media reports in August claimed three banks had been contracted to advise on the disposal of ICE’s majority stake in Euronext.
NYSE Euronext was prevented from merging with Deutsche Borse in 2012 by the European Commission due to competition concerns arising from the combination of the two exchanges listed derivatives businesses, Liffe and Eurex.
ICE is also expected to announce its plans to integrate the New York Stock Exchange into its Atlanta-based operational infrastructure. NYSE accounts for around a fifth of all US equity trading but only a fraction is executed on its famous floor. ICE has declined to comment on speculation that NYSE’s matching engine would migrate to Atlanta, triggering a decision to close the floor.
ICE announced its US$8.2 billion bid for NYSE Euronext in December 2012.
A spokesperson for NYSE Euronext said the exchange would not comment on plans for Euronext while the deal with ICE was still being finalised.