By Sophie Sassard and Anjuli Davies
LONDON Aug 21 IntercontinentalExchange
(ICE) has hired three banks to advise on the listing of
Euronext, whose sale is crucial to its $8.2 billion takeover of
NYSE Euronext, three sources familiar with the situation
ABN Amro and existing advisers on the ICE/NYSE deal, Societe
Generale and JP Morgan, will act as global
coordinators on the flotation of the combined Paris, Lisbon,
Brussels and Amsterdam exchanges, the sources said.
ICE decided to float Euronext when it sealed a deal with
NYSE Euronext last year in order to fund the transaction, to
ease regulatory approval in Europe and to keep the combined
group's focus on U.S. operations, one of the people said. ICE
will however keep NYSE's Liffe interest rate futures exchange.
The U.S.-based exchange operator is planning to float about
50 percent of Euronext in Paris in the second quarter of next
year and will retain about 30 percent, one of the sources said.
Euronext is worth about 1.5 billion euros ($2.01 billion)
and a partial listing could help ICE-NYSE raise about 750
million euros ($1 billion), said the same person, who added a
secondary listing in Amsterdam was also being reviewed.
While an initial public listing (IPO) remains the most
likely route, Euronext may also combine part or all of its
activities with European rivals such as Germany's Deutsche
Boerse or the Russian, Polish or
Austrian stock exchanges, two of the people said.
"ICE and NYSE will listen to propositions," said one source,
who asked not to be named because the talks are private.
Another of the three sources said that the IPO could be
"pre-empted with a good offer".
"They've had a few discussions with possible buyers so far,"
Bankers expect further sector consolidation in the coming
months as exchanges try to boost revenue by diversifying
products and buying into settlement and clearing operations.
"It's very clear that sector consolidation is not over yet.
Europe is pretty busy at the moment but you could see
intra-consolidation in Eastern Europe, Asia and cross-border
deals to combine geographies too," the third source said.
"The game is pretty open," he said.
Deutsche Boerse may try to buy into Euronext's cash equities
operation to diversify from its core derivatives business, two
of the sources said, although another source close to the German
exchange told Reuters that this was not an area where it was
looking for acquisitions.
U.S. rival Nasdaq and London's LSE are also
among the interested parties, all three sources said, although
the EU's regulator may block a non-European sale, one said.
Deutsche Boerse is under the most pressure to act and, while
a tie-up with its larger peer in Hong Kong would mean selling
out, it could buy the Singapore stock exchange, he said,
although it would be hard to create synergies across continents.
Deutsche Boerse's diversification strategy centres on
expanding post-trade services such as clearing, the same source
Asian stock exchanges such as Singapore, Seoul or Hong Kong
could also be targets for Nasdaq or the Tokyo and Shanghai
exchanges, a separate source said.
Nasdaq is also looking to expand in the Middle East and may
be interested in operators such as Dubai stock exchange, the
same person said.
Euronext, JPMorgan, Deutsche Boerse all declined to comment,
while other parties were not immediately available for comment.