Germany may relaunch 'Neuer Markt' for tech shares

BERLIN Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:56am EDT

The plaque of the Deutsche Boerse AG is pictured at the entrance of the Frankfurt stock exchange February 1, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Domanski

The plaque of the Deutsche Boerse AG is pictured at the entrance of the Frankfurt stock exchange February 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Alex Domanski

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government is in talks with Deutsche Boerse on relaunching the "Neuer Markt", the market for technology stocks which soared during the Internet boom of the late 1990s before shutting six years later when share values collapsed.

Economy Minister Philipp Roesler told Reuters in an interview that recreating the market, hailed over a decade ago as Germany's answer to the U.S. Nasdaq .IXIC, could make it easier for start-ups to get the capital they needed to grow.

"If you look at the current situation with our digital companies, then it is clear that almost all of them have a solid foundation, contrary to 2000," Roesler said. "That means that it is worth investing in these companies again."

He said talks were underway with Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE), with the goal of "creating something special to make it easier for them to go on the market".

Roesler, 40, has positioned himself as a backer of German start-ups, travelling to Silicon Valley earlier this year to promote the sector with venture capitalists.

He said talks were in the early stages and that Berlin was keen to avoid mistakes made when the "Neuer Markt" was first launched.

"If we do this in a smart way, I think investors will be there. Otherwise Boerse wouldn't be interested in this," he said.

At the height of the dotcom boom, companies lined up to list on the market, attracting huge interest from small investors, many of whom were later burned when tech stocks crashed. The "Neuer Markt" was also tarnished by scandals, becoming a symbol of corporate mismanagement and investor greed.

Deutsche Boerse said in a statement that it planned to take a close look at new markets, but added that its "Entry Standard" segment already offered a channel for companies to raise capital.

(Reporting by Noah Barkin, Gernot Heller, Matthias Baehr, Alexandra Hudson, Andreas Rinke, Andreas Kroener; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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