EU exec to back veto on D.Boerse/NYSE merger
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 | 00:00
The European Commission will follow EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia's advice to block the merger of Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext next week, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Almunia presented a 459 page document laying out his case to the other 26 commissioners last Friday, the person said. The college of commissioners will vote on the merger on February 1.
Twenty-five of the commissioners backed the EU competition commissioner. One wanted to read Almunia's recommendation in full, but is expected to go along with the others, the person said.
Last week, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters that the commissioners would back Almunia's recommendation, although one or two had reservations.
The EU Commission has never acted against the advice of the antitrust chief to block a merger.
Almunia on Tuesday reiterated the need for fair, efficient and competitive markets.
"Preserving competition in this domain is of utmost importance and we will live up to our responsibilities in this regard," he told an industry conference in Paris.
Concerned about the combined entity's share of more than 90 percent of the listed derivatives market in Europe, Almunia had asked for Deutsche Boerse to sell its Eurex derivatives arm, or for NYSE Euronext to offload its London-based futures exchange Liffe.
The exchanges have refused. They can appeal against a negative decision at the EU courts in Luxembourg, but the process, likely to take between one and two years, could destroy the merger. The last successful such appeals were in 2002.
Last week, national competition regulators in the European Union endorsed Almunia's proposed veto, a source with knowledge of the case told Reuters.
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