The Nasdaq Stock Market has bought a 58 per cent stake in Easdaq, the ailing pan-European market for growth stocks.
Belgium-based Easdaq, which has been renamed Nasdaq Europe, effectively completes the third leg of a global, 24-hour trading platform alongside the New York exchange's US and Japanese operations.
Nasdaq says the transaction is only a first step on the way to further consolidation of trading in Europe and it remains open to negotiations with other markets.
Nasdaq Chairman Frank Zarb comments: "Today's announcement demonstrates our commitment to become a major part of the European marketplace. This agreement is one important step towards this objective, while we continue to assess a wide range of possibilities with other European partners."
Knight Trading Group will remain as a strategic investor in Easdaq and eight major securities firms have indicated their intent to join Nasdaq in this transaction, with other strategic investors to follow.
Nasdaq says that by June it will launch a European trading system that deploys a hybrid market model combining the best features of order-driven and quote-driven market models. Features will include executable market maker quotes, matched trade reporting, and an electronic broker-to-broker negotiation facility.
Before the end of 2001, Nasdaq Europe intends to introduce a hybrid market model customised to European best practices. This platform will integrate attributable market maker quotes into an anonymous, voluntary limit order book, provide expanded negotiation facilities, and trade reporting.
Nasdaq Europe says it will work to establish a user-controlled European central counterparty (CCP) under a facilities management deal with New York's Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC).