Dubai poised to steal OMX from Nasdaq

  • 2007-08-08
  • By Mike Collier
STOCKHOLM - OMX, the pan-Nordic stock exchange which operates the affiliated trading centres in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius could be the target of a takeover bid by Borse Dubai, throwing a planned sale to Nasdaq into doubt.

Borse Dubai announced Aug 9 that it was planning to buy a large stake in OMX 's thought to be around 25 percent 's which immediately began market speculation that the move could be a prequel to a full-scale counter-bid designed to head Nasdaq off at the pass. Reports that Borse Dubai had hired HSBC to advise on a bid added further fuel to the fire.

The Arabian exchange's announcement immediately sparked a rally on OMX which rose nearly six percent in Stockholm, taking the price well above the Nasdaq purchase price, even while other markets around the world witnessed sharp falls and widespread fears of recession.

If Borse Dubai does mount a full-scale takeover bid, it could see the return of chief executive Per Larsson, a former chief exec of OMX.

In an attempt to state its position, OMX issued a staement saying: "The Board of [OMX] notes Borse Dubai' s purchase of 4.9 per cent in OMX and its statement that it has options, subject to certain conditions, to acquire a further 22.5 per cent shareholding in OMX. OMX has received no further clarification as to Borse Dubai's intentions."

"OMX also notes NASDAQ's announcement that it is fully committed to the proposed merger with OMX. OMX confirms that the only offer it has received is the offer from NASDAQ recommended by the Board of OMX and announced on May 25th."

Borse Dubai was founded in September 2005 as part of the Gulf state's ongoing reinvention as a global financial center. It is state-owned, which effectively means it is controlled by the ruling Maktoum dynasty.