Bloomberg News

ICE Says ‘Things Aren’t Over Yet’ on Liffe After Snub From NYSE

June 07, 2011

June 7 (Bloomberg) -- IntercontinentalExchange Inc., which was rejected in its joint bid for NYSE Euronext, said it’s still interested in the Liffe derivatives market owned by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange.

“Things aren’t over yet,” ICE Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Sprecher told a room of exchange executives including Garry Jones, the head of London-based Liffe, at a conference today in London. “Liffe’s a great franchise, we would love to work with them.”

ICE and New York-based Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. withdrew their bid for NYSE Euronext last month after the U.S. Department of Justice threatened an antitrust lawsuit. The two companies would have split NYSE Euronext, with Nasdaq OMX keeping the stock and options trading units and the listings business and Atlanta- based ICE taking the Liffe futures business. NYSE Euronext agreed to be bought by Deutsche Boerse AG in February.

“I had a vision the U.S. regulator didn’t share,” Sprecher said during a panel discussion with Liffe’s Jones and Andreas Preuss, deputy chief executive of Deutsche Boerse, at the IDX International Derivatives Expo. “We stuck our neck out and I’m glad we did it. A lot of people in this room have been supportive of our attempts to be disruptive.”

Deutsche Boerse’s takeover of NYSE Euronext still faces scrutiny from European regulators. The merger would combine the two biggest derivatives business in Europe, Liffe and Eurex, and put about 30 percent of the region’s stock trading under common ownership, based on data compiled by Bats Global Markets.

Three U.S. Exchanges

In the U.S., the company would own three equity options exchanges, giving it 42 percent of the volume, based on April’s figures compiled by Chicago-based OCC, which clears equity derivatives transactions.

Nasdaq OMX and ICE pulled their $11.3 billion bid for NYSE Euronext on May 16, less than a week after Sprecher described the chance to buy Liffe as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The combined NYSE Euronext-Deutsche Boerse entity will become the largest exchange company worldwide, trading or clearing 4.8 billion futures and options contracts last year, compared with CME Group Inc.’s 3.1 billion contracts, according to data from the Washington-based Futures Industry Association. The data include equity options in addition to futures contracts.

NYSE Euronext shareholders will meet July 7 to discuss the deal, which requires 50 percent of their votes. Deutsche Boerse needs 75 percent of investors to approve it by July 13, according to a May 4 regulatory filing.

--Editor: Andrew Rummer

To contact the reporter on this story: Nandini Sukumar in London at nsukumar@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net


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