ZURICH, March 27 Swiss stock exchange operator
SIX Group would consider bidding for its larger European
competitor Euronext if the exchange were to come up for sale,
SIX's chief executive said on Wednesday.
"Should ICE put Euronext up for sale, we would
certainly take a look," CEO Urs Rueegsegger said at the Swiss
exchange's annual media conference in Zurich, adding Euronext's
equity and derivatives business were particularly of interest.
Euronext's clearing and settlement business and its
financial information services could also be attractive for the
Swiss firm, Rueegsegger said.
Euronext is currently owned by IntercontinentalExchange
which said last December it planned to float Euronext
after it completes its $8.2 billion acquisition of NYSE Euronext
in the second half of this year.
Sources have told Reuters that ICE would consider selling
Euronext as an alternative to floating it if bids were to
Global stock exchanges have been in a merger frenzy as
aggressive, upstart trading platforms have eaten into the market
shares of traditional players such as Deutsche Boerse
and NYSE Euronext, putting pressure on them to
consolidate and to cut costs.
Rueegsegger said he expected a lot of interest in Euronext
which operates exchanges in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and
Lisbon. According to analysts the company could be worth between
one billion euros and two billion euros ($1.28-$2.56 billion).
Euronext is considerably bigger than SIX. Size plays an
important role in the exchange business because of the
relatively high fixed costs.