The $10.9bn takeover of NYSE-Euronext by the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) has finally been confirmed after the remaining national regulatory and governmental hurdles were cleared this week. But the French government is still worried about the future of the European Euronext exhange arm and its many historical Paris-based customers; even though the main exchange data centre and business hub is now located in Basildon, Essex, UK. This could change however is a de-merger between the US and European exchanges were to be instigated by ICE.
According to Reuters, the French government has urged financial market players to step in to ensure that Paris ‘retains its reputation as a financial centre in Europe’, amid persistent rumours that the $10.9 billion merger will be followed next year by the spin-off of NYSE's European arm, Euronext, which operates stock exchanges in Amsterdam, Paris and elsewhere, utilising the Basildon UK data centre facility for the London market and other continential DCs.
ICE has so far denied any such de-merger plan, although the merger of the NYSE and ICE US exchanges is where the synergies and major benefits of the takeover are expected to accrue, so it is highly likely to happen.
French finance minister, Pierre Moscovici, approved the ICE-NYSE merger late yesterday, but stressed the need for Euronext to have a federal, European management that would preserve the standing of Paris as a financial hub.
He highlighted a report from Thierry Francq, the former chief of French stock market regulator AMF, which recommended that ICE set up a group of core shareholders holding a stake of at least 25% in Euronext and representing the interests of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal.
By Neil Ainger and Gary Cooper