Officials consider inquiry into OMX bid

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The Independent Online

Swedish authorities may open a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding Borse Dubai's purchase this month of a 28.4 per cent stake in OMX, the Nordic exchange operator.

Robert Engstedt, public prosecutor at Sweden's National Economic Crimes Bureau, said: "The question for the moment is that I have got information from which I will have to make a decision about whether to initiate a preliminary investigation or not." Mr Engstedt declined to reveal further details of the information he has attained or the scope of any possible investigation. He said he would decide on Monday whether to open an inquiry.

Borse Dubai bought 4.9 per cent of OMX on the open market on 9 August, and announced options agreements with several hedge funds that gave it rights to a further 23.5 per cent. It launched a full-blown £2bn bid for OMX nine days later, threatening a £1.86bn recommended bid that New York's Nasdaq made for the exchange in May.

It is thought that the preliminary investigation, if Mr Engstedt decides to launch it, would be into suspicious share price movements – and not Borse Dubai itself – that occurred in the days and hours before the exchange made its first announcement on 9 August.

The revelation came as OMX announced it had sent a letter to Borse Dubai "which includes a list of questions which will help the Board properly assess the Borse Dubai offer". OMX's queries are thought to centre on basic due diligence concerns, such as where Borse Dubai is getting its funding, as well as the corporate governance and internal controls of the state-controlled group, which officially came into being this month.

Sweden's Financial Supervisory Authority found in a separate inquiry that Borse Dubai broke stock market rules because its initial share swoop constituted a takeover offer. The regulator declined to fine Dubai.