The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)- owner of the Dubai Stock Exchange - is considering making a rival bid to Nasdaq's $3.7 billion offer for Nordic and Baltic market operator OMX, according to press reports.
OMX stock rose 8.3% yesterday to SKr216 in Stockholm - higher than Nasdaq's bid of SKr208.1 per share - following a weekend report by The Sunday Times saying that the government-owned DIFC had appointed HSBC to advise on a potential counterbid for the European market operator. The Financial Times also ran with a story stating that DIFC is considering a counter-bid for OMX and is in talks with its bankers at HSBC about a potential offer.
The new speculation follows the disclosure of Nasdaq's $7.6bn cash and stock bid for OMX on Friday. The two exchanges said the combination would create "the largest global network of exchanges and exchange customers linked by technology".
According to the Sunday Times report, DIFC's planned bid for OMX signals its ambitions to raise Dubai's profile in international financial markets. Last year it built up a 3.5% stake in Euronext, the pan-European exchange operator now owned by the New York Stock Exchange (Nyse).
Furthermore, the fact that Per Larsson, former president of OM Group, is now the CEO of the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), has added fuel to the fire.
Both OMX and DIFC have refused to comment on the speculation.