EU regulators to examine ICE, NYSE Euronext merger

BRUSSELS, April 24 Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:56am EDT

BRUSSELS, April 24 (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators will examine IntercontinentalExchange Inc's $8.2 billion takeover of NYSE Euronext in line with a request from the exchange operators themselves, a spokesman for the European Commission said on Wednesday.

The deal would give commodities and energy bourse ICE control of London-based Liffe, Europe's second-largest derivatives market, strengthening it against U.S. rivals CME and Nasdaq OMX Group.

ICE is making its second attempt to acquire the New York Stock Exchange owner after a failed joint bid with Nasdaq last year.

ICE said in a regulatory filing earlier this year that it would ask the EU competition authority, which has extensive experience of financial markets, to assess the deal, rather than leave it to regulators in Portugal, Spain and Britain.

"We are the competent authority to examine this transaction," said Antoine Colombani, the Commission spokesman for competition policy.

"They (national regulators) did not oppose the fact that the Commission would be competent to review the merger as the parties requested," he said.

The companies have not formally notified the Commission yet of the deal. A preliminary scrutiny lasts 25 working days, and can be extended to 90 working days if there are competition concerns.