Dubai and Nasdaq raise offer for OMX

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The Independent Online

Borse Dubai and Nasdaq have increased the price of their joint offer for OMX by $649m (£325m) and reduced the shareholder approval threshold in an effort to seal its takeover of the Nordic exchange group.

The bidding partners said investors holding 47.6 per cent of OMX shares, including Investor AB, the firm controlled by the Wallenberg family, and Nordea, the banking giant, had agreed to tender their shares to the new offer. Nasdaq and Borse Dubai also reduced the minimum acceptance level upon which their joint offer was conditioned to 50 per cent, down from 90 per cent under the original terms.

The rise in price from 230 kroner per share to 265 kroner, which bestows on OMX a value of $4.9bn, was done to quash any designs that the Qatar Investment Authority, owner of 9.9 per cent of the exchange, may have. "They'll have to now go above 300 [kroner per share] if they want to be considered a serious player," said a source close to the situation.

The acceptance by several major shareholders, including OMX management, will heap further pressure on the emirate's soveriegn wealth fund. The QIA bought its stake in OMX just hours after Borse Dubai and Nasdaq unveiled a complex set of arrangements last week under which Borse Dubai agreed to proceed with its offer for OMX, while Nasdaq said it would withdraw a rival bid. Once that deal was done, Borse Dubai would then exchange its ownership of OMX for a 19.9 per cent stake in Nasdaq, plus cash.

The QIA may also have the Finnish authorities to reckon with after failing to alert the regulator, as required by law, before buying the OMX shares.

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