European clearing house LCH.Clearnet is reported to be in talks with the US Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) about a possible merger that would create the first transatlantic provider of post-trade services.
According to a Financial Times report, which cites "people familiar with the situation", the two groups have held talks "intermittently" during the past nine months.
The merger would likely be structured as a takeover of LCH.Clearnet by the DTCC, says the report. The combined group would become the largest clearing and settlement operation in Europe.
News of the talks come on the back of speculation that LCH.Clearnet looks set to lose business from major clients Liffe, IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) and London Stock Exchange (LSE).
Both ICE and Liffe - the London-based derivatives unit of Nyse Euronext - are looking to establish their own clearing operations in London and distance themselves from their current supplier LCH.Clearnet.
The LSE has also stated that it is examining "all options" for its own clearing arrangements, which include a review of its existing agreement with LCH.Clearnet. The LSE review was thought to have been prompted by rumours that new exchanges such as Chi-X and Bats Trading could use LCH.Clearnet services in Europe.
But despite these issues LCH.Clearnet has won new business in recent months, most notably from Börse Berlin's Equiduct Trading platform.