By David French, Andreas Framke and Arno Schuetze
NEW YORK/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German stock exchange operator Deutsche Boerse AG said on Wednesday that it is in “concrete negotiations” with data provider Refinitiv about the potential acquisition of certain foreign exchange business units.
The statement came after Reuters reported that Deutsche Boerse was in talks to buy FXall, a foreign exchange electronic trading platform owned by Refinitiv, for about $3.5 billion, citing people familiar with the matter.
“The negotiations and assessments of a potential transaction are ongoing,” Deutsche Boerse said in a statement.
However, it said that "the purchase price of $3.5 billion and the imminent signing of binding contracts mentioned in the market speculations are entirely unfounded."
Should a deal be consummated, it would further diversify Deutsche Boerse's business beyond stock trading, while enabling Refinitiv to trim its debt pile following its acquisition last year by a consortium led by Blackstone Group LP in a $20-billion leveraged buyout.
Refinitiv did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
FXall has more than 2,300 institutional clients that are trading foreign exchange on its platform, offering more than 500 different currency pairs through methods including on-the-spot trading, forward and option contracts, according to its website.
Deutsche Boerse, operator of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, has been seeking new avenues for growth, as the profitability of facilitating trades is eroded by new digital rivals and the rise of passive investment funds that track indices.
On Tuesday, Deutsche Boerse announced it would buy risk management software provider Axioma for $850 million, with plans to merge it with its existing index business to create a new analytics firm.
Deutsche Boerse's global head of FX, Carlo Koelzer, was quoted by the Handelsblatt business daily on April 1 saying that the firm would be interested in buying FXall, should it ever come up for sale.
Blackstone acquired a 55 percent stake in Refinitiv last year from information provider Thomson Reuters Corp, the parent of Reuters News.
Thomson Reuters retains a 45 percent stake in Refinitiv, which provides financial information, security pricing, analytics, risk management and compliance support tools. Refinitiv took on $13.5 billion in debt as part of its leveraged buyout, according to Moody's Investors Service Inc.
(Reporting by David French in New York and Andreas Framke and Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler)