Aims at creating a "truly European exchange"

FRANKFURT: German stock exchange operator Deutsche Boerse AG said on Wednesday it planned to enter talks with the four-nation Euronext exchange on a possible merger and said it would make no more bids for the London Stock Exchange.

In a statement released before markets opened, Deutsche Boerse said that because of increased consolidation in the exchange industry, it was concentrating on creating a truly European exchange organisation.

"Deutsche Boerse is looking forward to entering into concrete negotiations with Euronext management on realising a combination of the two groups on the basis of a merger of partners with a view to creating a global market leader in the industry,'' the company said.

It also said it did not intend to make any more bids for the LSE. Shareholders of Deutsche Boerse forced its former CEO Werner Seifert to resign last year after two failed bids to acquire the London-based exchange.

On Tuesday, Euronext said it was seeking new talks with Deutsche Boerse in the aftermath of Friday's 2.4 billion pound ($4.2 billion) bid by the U.S.-based Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. for the London Stock Exchange.

That set of a flurry of conjecture that Euronext and Deutsche Boerse, which held informal talks in December, would have to work with each other, or tie up, in a bid to stave off expansion plans by other companies, particularly the NYSE Group Inc.

In January, NYSE Chief Executive John Thain said he was eyeing all three European exchanges as a possible acquisition. Euronext owns the Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon stock exchanges. AP

AFP reports from London

British watchdog clears possible bid

Deutsche Boerse would be allowed to acquire the London Stock Exchange subject to conditions, Britain's Competition Commission said on Wednesday.

The ruling came as Deutsche Boerse, operator of the Frankfurt stock exchange, said it had no plans to make a renewed takeover offer for Europe's biggest equity market and saw its priority in a tie-up with Euronext.

"The Competition Commission has on Wednesday accepted the final undertakings, which will allow Deutsche Boerse to acquire the London Stock Exchange (LSE) subject to specified conditions,'' the CC said in a statement.

The Competition Commission had on Tuesday cleared a possible bid by pan-European stock exchange Euronext.

On Wednesday the CC ruled that both exchanges could take over the LSE "if they were able to make certain commitments regarding LSE's clearing services provider.''