The chief executive of the Sydney Futures Exchange has won a power struggle over the leadership of Australia?s merged equities and futures market.
The board of the larger Australian Stock Exchange acquiesced to pressure from SFE?s institutional shareholders of the SFE and agreed that Robert Elstone, and not ASX chief executive Tony D?Aloisio, would be the new chief executive of the merged group.
Mr D?Aloisio, a lawyer who has headed the ASX since October 2004, was earmarked for the top job when the ASX launched its friendly A$2bn (US$1.5bn) takeover on March 27 but support for Mr Elstone has gained momentum and threatened to derail SFE support for the merger, which will be put to a vote gauged at a vote on the merger on July 5.
?Significant SFE shareholders continue to express the view that Robert Elstone is best placed to lead the merged entity,? the SFE and ASX said. ?The strength of this view emerged as a real risk to securing approval for the transaction.?
Federal Treasurer Peter Costello last week approved the merger, which would create the world?s ninth largest trading entity and the third largest in Asia-Pacific.
The combined company would have a market value of just over A$5bn. The capitalisation of the more than 1,800 stocks listed on the ASX reached A$1,100bn at the end of 2005, while the SFE?s annual nominal turn-over exceeds A$2,400bn a year.
The ASX has offered SFE shareholders 0.51 ASX shares for each SFE share, or A$2.58 and ASX shares equal to the value of the all-scrip offer. The offer values the SFE at A$16.93 per share, which is at a premium to yesterday?s share price of A$15.73.
Mr Elstone has headed the SFE since 2000 and presided over the successful de-mutualisation and listing of the exchange. The company also took over the New Zealand Futures and Options Exchange under his leadership.
Mr D?Aloisio issued a separate statement yesterday in which he expressed his disappointment at his exclusion. ?I am personally disappointed that I will not now be leading the merged entity and congratulate and sincerely wish Robert Elstone the best in his new role,? he said.
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