The CEE Stock Exchange Group, which includes bourses in Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Ljubljana, said it’s open to holding “merger of equals” talks with the Warsaw Stock Exchange (GPW), its biggest rival.
“We would be open to doing something with Warsaw though they see us a competitor,” Michael Buhl, the Vienna bourse’s co-chief executive officer said in an interview in London. “We would be interested in a stronger cooperation up to a possible merger. A merger of equals ultimately would make sense,” he added.
The two exchanges are vying for influence in the region. Austria’s Wiener Boerse AG in 2008 bought stakes in exchanges in Ljubljana, Budapest and Prague and the bourses will eventually all run on the same trading system, supplied by Deutsche Boerse AG. (DB1) The Warsaw exchange, which listed its stock in 2010, dominates listings in the region.
“They won’t be complete without us and we won’t be complete without them,” Buhl said. “It makes sense, there are a lot of synergies. Together we really would be central and eastern Europe. But it remains wishful thinking for the time being.”
There are at present “no concrete talks, unfortunately,” he said.
Last year, in a populist outcry, antitrust concern and volatile markets prevented the completion of more than $37 billion in announced transactions, according to data compiled by Bloomberg on deals valued at $1 billion or more.
European Union regulators on Feb. 1 vetoed Deutsche Boerse AG and NYSE Euronext’s (NYX) plan to create the world’s biggest exchange after concluding the merger would hurt competition. Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ) and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE) abandoned an unsolicited bid for NYSE Euronext after the U.S. Justice Department threatened to sue. London Stock Exchange Group Plc’s effort to take over Canada’s TMX Group Inc was thwarted and Singapore Exchange Ltd.’s (SGX) $8.8 billion bid for ASX Ltd. collapsed after Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said the deal wasn’t in the national interest.
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