New York exchange ready to link with Euronext in joint bid for LSE

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The Independent Online

The New York Stock Exchange has indicated that it is ready to join Euronext, the French-led stock markets group, in a potential "white knight" bid for the London Stock Exchange.

The New York Stock Exchange has indicated that it is ready to join Euronext, the French-led stock markets group, in a potential "white knight" bid for the London Stock Exchange.

Officials from the NYSE, which is working with Euronext to establish GEM, a global equities trading platform, have told European exchange officials that NYSE will join Euronext if Deutsche Börse mounts a joint bid for the LSE with Nasdaq, the US exchange.

Werner Seifert, Deutsche Börse chief executive, is working with bankers on plans for a multinational bid for the LSE despite mounting evidence that LSE shareholders do not want a change of control at this stage.

In a guest column published in Germany's Börsen Zeitung, Mr Seifert said he still believed the concept behind the failed Anglo-German iX merger was sound. He said: "The exchange which manages to merge with the London Stock Exchange will create a more powerful capital market for Europe."

Euronext, formed last month from the Dutch, French and Belgian exchanges, is not currently planning a bid. It is seeking to position itself as a sensible partner for the LSE to talk to, once the LSE has seen off the hostile bid from OM, the Swedish stock markets group.

However, Euronext's advisers believe it may have to move swiftly if Mr Seifert decides to take matters into his own hands.

Richard Grasso, NYSE chairman, and Jean-François Theodore, Euronext chief executive, are understood to have been in constant contact since the iX merger ran aground. NYSE officials yesterday declined to comment.

Soundings of LSE shareholders over recent days suggest there is little support for scrapping the 4.9 per cent limit on 19 October. The LSE has called a shareholders' meeting to vote on whether to keep the cap, which makes it impossible to mount a successful bid for the LSE unless the bidder can muster 75 per cent support.

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