Nasdaq ready to talk with Euronext about Oslo Bors takeover bid

The fight for Oslo Bors grew more intense on Monday as Nasdaq published its formal takeover offer just moments after Euronext NV underscored its determination to acquire Norway’s main exchange.

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Nasdaq confirmed its plans, first announced last week, to offer 152 kroner a share for Oslo Bors VPS Holding ASA, valuing it at 6.54 billion kroner (EUR 680 million). Nasdaq, which is offering 5 percent more than its Franco-Dutch rival, already has the backing of the board and the two largest shareholders.

But roughly an hour earlier, Euronext had published a statement reaffirming its commitment to the deal. It says it will now assess its options to make sure it’s successful.

Euronext said "It remains committed to a constructive and continuous dialog" with Norway's main bourse and its shareholders. The exchange operator acknowledged that Oslo Bors’s board had decided against recommending its offer but pointed to the fact that it's already obtained the backing of just over half the Norwegian bourse's shareholders.

Meanwhile, Nasdaq Nordic says it’s ready to enter talks with Euronext. In an interview in Stockholm last week, Lauri Rosendahl, the president of Nasdaq Nordic, said shareholders in Oslo Bors will appreciate that his is the “best financial bid on the table” as he laid out his case.

“We're currently not in talks with Euronext, but we're of course ready to have talks with all shareholders, and we're open to have that with them," Rosendahl said.

"Very many investors have signaled interest in accepting Nasdaq’s bid," he said. What's more, Rosendahl says that "there are pretty many stakeholders that, if they were confronted with the option of selling to us today, then they’d definitely make it a majority." But the problem for Nasdaq is that Euronext has obtained majority backing for an earlier, albeit lower, offer.

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