Nasdaq offloads remaining LSE stake

Nasdaq offloads remaining LSE stake

US market operator Nasdaq has sold its remaining stake in the London Stock Exchange (LSE) - the part it hasn't sold to Borse Dubai - for £18 pounds per share.

Nasdaq built up a 31% shareholding in the LSE following its failed bid to acquire the UK exchange.

Last week the US exchange sold a 28% stake in the LSE to Borse Dubai for £14.14 per share. The deal was one part of a four-way transaction between Nasdaq and Borse Dubai that paves the way for the US exchange to secure control of Sweden's OMX.

In a statement Nasdaq says the remaining 5.3 million shares were sold for a total of £95.8 million though a market book-built exercise.

Following last week's developments, the LSE's biggest shareholders are now Borse Dubai and the state-owned Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) - which acquired a 20% shareholding in the UK market operator last week. Qatar also acquired a 10% stake in OMX.

However reports have surfaced that Nasdaq and Borse Dubai have drawn up plans to lure the LSE into a "pan-continental alliance" that could challenge the recently mergerd Nyse Euronext.

According to a report published by UK newspaper The Observer, the plan involves the creation of a new company in which London would have the dominant position but would link trading platforms in the Gulf states, Europe and the US.

City analysts say it is still possible that the LSE could face a hostile bid from Nasdaq/Dubai in February when the US exchange is allowed to bid again under Takeover Panel rules. Nasdaq/Dubai could even find themselves fighting for control of the LSE with the Qataris, who are closely allied with LSE chief executive Clara Furse.

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