Nasdaq and Borse Dubai are poised to declare victory in the battle for control of OMX after Qatar Investment Authority said it would not make a counter offer for the Nordic exchange.
But the decision could lead to the Qataris increasing their 14.9 per cent stake in the London Stock Exchange.
QIA had previously amassed a 9.98 per cent stake in OMX and applied to Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority for permission to make an offer for 100 per cent of its shares. That application has now been withdrawn. Its decision to bow out from the keenly contested battle for OMX clears the way for a complex joint offer by Nasdaq, the US operator, and Borse Dubai, the Middle Eastern company, to complete their agreed takeover.
People close to Borse Dubai played down market rumours that it was planning to swap some of its LSE shares for QIA’s full shareholding in OMX.
But if such a deal were to happen, Borse Dubai’s stake in LSE would fall to about 15 per cent while QIA’s would rise to about 20 per cent, according to people familiar with the matter.
OMX is the subject of a $4.9bn (£2.4bn, €3.3bn) takeover offer from Nasdaq and Borse Dubai that has been backed by OMX’s major shareholders including Investor, the holding company of the Wallenberg family, and OMX’s management.
The two former rivals in the bidding have agreed Borse Dubai will acquire OMX and then transfer it to Nasdaq in return for a 19.9 per cent stake in a new combined company as well as Nasdaq’s 28 per cent stake in LSE. Despite the apparent resolution of the Nordic situation, there is uncertainty over the impact of QIA’s withdrawal on LSE.
QIA is now a minority shareholder in both OMX and LSE, raising questions about its long-term commitment to both holdings and whether some sort of swap arrangement can be agreed with Borse Dubai.
Officials involved in the OMX transaction are confident that the deal can be completed in the first quarter of next year.
Possible hurdles to completion remain, including a decision by the Swedish government on whether to approve of Borse Dubai as an owner of OMX.
Additional reporting by Simeon Kerr in Dubai
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