Euronext has secured clearance from Norway’s Finance Ministry for its 100% acquisition of Norwegian stock market operator Oslo Børs VPS for a sum of about NOK6.79bn ($780m).
The clearance from the ministry follows last month’s recommendation by the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority (Finanstilsynet) to it that Euronext should be approved as a suitable owner of Oslo Børs VPS, as applied for.
The European stock exchange operator said that it has already secured 53.4% of the capital of Oslo Børs VPS, which satisfies the 50% minimum ownership condition of its offer. Included in these are irrevocable pre-commitments, shares tendered to its offer, along with directly owned shares.
Euronext said that the Norwegian Finance Ministry’s decision was one of the last major conditions to close the acquisition, which it expects to happen by the end of next month.
The pan-European exchange said that it is convinced strongly of the benefits that its combination with Oslo Børs VPS will deliver to all Norwegian stakeholders.
Euronext expects the Norwegian stock market operator to become its development hub and platform for its expansion in the Nordics regions.
It also intends to enhance Oslo Børs VPS’s technology and innovation capabilities, particularly through the launch of the Optiq trading technology.
Euronext CEO and managing board chairman Stéphane Boujnah said: “As part of the Euronext family, Oslo Børs VPS will continue to be a strong and leading Nordic exchange and CSD, and a hub for Euronext’s ambitions in the region.
“Euronext looks forward to supporting the Norwegian financial and business community, to working constructively with all key constituents and stakeholders to further drive the success of Oslo Børs VPS.”
US-based Nasdaq has also been looking to acquire Oslo Børs VPS for the same price of NOK6.79bn ($780m). However, the clearance given by the Norwegian government to Euronext’s proposal effectively brings an end to Nasdaq’s pursuit.
Nasdaq Nordic president Lauri Rosendahl said: “While the Ministry of Finance has confirmed that Nasdaq is a suitable owner of Oslo Børs VPS in accordance with the applicable Norwegian statutory requirements, the decision not to require a two thirds majority of the shares to be obtained by any person seeking to acquire control of Oslo Børs VPS is disappointing.
“Based on an expert review of publicly available information, there are no exchanges in Europe where a majority shareholder owns more than fifty, but less than two-thirds of the shares. We were hopeful the Norwegian authorities would make a decision consistent with this widespread European practice.”