Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

LSE Opens the Door to New Bid by NASDAQ

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

LSE Opens the Door to New Bid by NASDAQ

Article excerpt

Byline: MICKEY CLARK

SHARES in the London Stock Exchange itself have more than doubled since the start of the year and now look set to go even higher after chairman Chris Gibson-Smith hung the "for sale" sign up outside the group's gleaming headquarters in Paternoster Square.

Today they traded at 1200p, just 75p shy of their record high of 1275p reached in May this year after one of its main rivals, New York-based electronic trading platform Nasdaq, increased its stake to 25.1%. Nasdaq built up the stake ahead of launching an offer worth 950p a share which was rejected by the LSE as too low.

Gibson-Smith now says he would consider a higher offer from Nasdaq, although he declined to comment on whether the LSE had received another approach.

"Such offers help transform sectors.

We would always consider an offer," he said, speaking in Seoul, where he is on a visit to Korea's financial markets.

"Money is always an issue, but the wellbeing of our shareholders is the true issue", he added. Nasdaq is the LSE's biggest shareholder.

Weekend reports claimed Nasdaq officials had grown fed-up of pussyfooting and is poised to launch a hostile takeover.

The LSE had hoped to forge a merger with the New York Stock Exchange, but its hopes were dashed when the NYSE launched a takeover of Euronext, the Paris-based operator of the Amsterdam, Lisbon and Brussels bourses.

Meanwhile, one of the LSE's rivals in London, PLUS Markets, firmed 1/4p to 23p, despite increasing its operating loss in the first six months of the year from [pounds sterling]291,000 to [pounds sterling]869,000. The group started the year with 17 member firms and now has 46 which have either applied for or been grantedmembership.

Shares generally posted small losses following an uninspired performance on Wall Street overnight and losses in Asian markets this morning. The FTSE 100 index lost 4.6 at 5977.1.

Among leaders, Centrica continued to be boosted by talk of a bid from Russia's Gazprom with the price rising 23/4p to 311p. …

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