Nasdaq poised to complete OMX deal

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Nasdaq, the US market that failed in an attempt to buy the London Stock Exchange last year, is set to finally crack Europe with the acquisition of the Nordic group OMX as early as next month, after securing an important step in the deal yesterday.

The takeover, originally agreed in May last year, became complicated after the Middle Eastern exchange group Borse Dubai waded in, buying a 27.4 per cent stake and launching a full takeover offer for OMX in August.

Nasdaq and Borse Dubai subsequently came to an agreement that the latter's bid should stand. Oncecompleted, Dubai will hand over the OMX shares to Nasdaq to complete the original merger, and inreturn will receive a 19.9 per cent stake in the combined company.

Yesterday came an important step as the board of OMX, which itself made an audacious bid for the London Stock Exchange in 2000, recommended Borse Dubai's Skr265 per share offer. The bid values OMX at $4.9bn.

Borse Dubai will open its offer to OMX shareholders from next Monday, which will then run for 20 days. The deal with Nasdaq will kick in once Dubai has received acceptances from shareholders with more than 67 per cent of the stock.

This would create a second transatlantic market, after the New York Stock Exchange bought Euronext last year.