PARIS Nov 12 The French government on Tuesday
approved IntercontinentalExchange Inc's takeover of
stock market operator NYSE Euronext but urged French
market players to step in to preserve Paris as a financial
The merger, worth some $10.9 billion, has been completed and
is set to be followed next year by the spin-off of NYSE's
European arm Euronext, which operates the Paris, Amsterdam,
Brussels and Lisbon stock exchanges.
Sources have told Reuters that Dutch and French regulators
were seeking to prevent Euronext from falling into foreign
hands, and that France's main banks had been approached to take
a large stake in the bourse.
In a statement late on Tuesday, French Finance Minister
Pierre Moscovici said he approved the ICE-NYSE merger, but
stressed the need for Euronext to have a federal, European
management that would preserve the standing of Paris as a
Moscovici endorsed a report by Thierry Francq, former chief
of French stock market regulator AMF, recommending that ICE set
up a group of core shareholders holding a stake of at least 25
percent in Euronext and representing the interests of France,
Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal.
"Only a locally rooted stock exchange operator can
adequately address the needs and specificities of its client
base," the report said, adding that thousands of high-value jobs
were at stake within France's financial "eco-system".
"The presence of a strong and dynamic bourse in Paris is
also an absolute precondition to sustaining France's influence
in setting the agenda of European and international financial
regulation," it noted.