EU securities watchdog to keep out of Euronext debate

Reuters

FRANKFURT, Nov 21 (Reuters) - The European Union securitiesmarket regulator is unlikely to interfere withIntercontinentalExchange Group's (ICE) planned spin-offof newly acquired Euronext, the watchdog said on Thursday.

ICE, which closed its $11 billion takeover of NYSE Euronextlast week, said on Tuesday that it is planning an initial publicoffering (IPO) for the exchange operator by next summer but didnot rule out a sale of the business.

Sources told Reuters last month that French and Dutchregulators were seeking to prevent Euronext - operator of theParis, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon stock exchanges - fromfalling into foreign hands.

However, they are unlikely to receive support from theEuropean Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the chairmanof which told Reuters that he plans to stay out of the debateover the fate of Euronext.

"Securities regulators do a lot, but they don't determinemarket structure," Steven Maijoor said in an interview onThursday. "In principle, it's up to the market participants todecide whether they merge or divest."

Sources close to Deutsche Boerse this week saidthat the German stock exchange operator was not interested inbuying Euronext.

Earlier in the week, The Wall Street Journal cited peoplefamiliar with the discussions as saying that Deutsche Boerse,London Stock Exchange Group and Nasdaq OMX Group were considering bids for Euronext.

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