Hunter Hunted as 'Nasdaq Eyes LSE'

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Duke

THE London Stock Exchange has completed a dramatic journey from predator to prey amid growing speculation that US rival Nasdaq could soon launch a bid for the City institution.

Less than 48 hours after its trans-Atlantic ambitions suffered a massive setback, the LSE became a potential takeover target as Nasdaq dropped out of the race for the New York Stock Exchange.

The move raises the prospect of the American technology market renewing its interest in the LSE as a wave of consolidation sweeps through the exchanges industry.

Nasdaq boss Bob Greifeld had two takeover bids for the LSE repelled in 2007.

But the LSE could now come back into his sights after the British group's hopes of forging a trans-Atlantic alliance with Canada's TMX suffered a potentially fatal blow over the weekend.

Shares in the LSE surged 56.5p to 884p as investors bet London's historic exchange could get swallowed up by Nasdaq.

A consortium of Canadian banks and pension funds on Saturday tabled a [pounds sterling]2.3bn cash and stock offer for TMX - trumping a politically unpopular [pounds sterling]1.9bn offer from the LSE.

Were LSE's Canadian foray to collapse, the LSE would be left without a partner as Deutsche Boerse and NYSE edge closer to their blockbuster merger. LSE boss Xavier Rolet yesterday vowed to press ahead with the agreed merger with TMX, which has gone down badly with some Canadian politicians and has yet to pass a strict national interest test. …