Deutsche bids to escape EU probe

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The Independent Online

Deutsche Börse will tomorrow make its final case to European competition watchdogs in a bid to stave off a full-scale investigation into its attempt to break up the New York Stock Exchange's plan to merge with the French-based Euronext.

The German exchange operator's proposal is hugely controversial in London because it would create a single, dominant, derivatives exchange by merging the Euronext, owned London futures exchange (Liffe), with its Eurex.

Deutsche is expected to outline a series of behavioural remedies and minor structural changes in an effort to convince regulators that its plans do not warrant a lengthy inquiry.

They will include an offer to traders using Liffe that their deals will be cleared through the London-based LCH-Clearnet rather than Deutsche's Eurex Clearing.

Deutsche will also argue that it competes with Liffe only "at the margins", a claim already furiously denied by Liffe's chief executive Hugh Freedberg.

Europe's competition watchdogs have filed more than 300 questionnaires to financial companies across the Continent, seeking their views on the deal. Trade bodies in London, including Apcims, the small stockbrokers lobby group, and the Futures & Options Association, have written to the Competition Commission urging a full inquiry.

Deutsche's proposal is now worth €9.7bn (£6.5bn) against the NYSE's bid of £10.4bn.