Nasdaq OMX is talking to bankers about financing a possible move to hijack Deutsche Bourse's bid for Nyse Euronext, according to media reports.
The exchange operator is reported to be talking to advisers, led by Bank of America, about a counter-bid for its rival, funded by $5 billion of debt.
Any deal would be dependent on IntercontinentalExchange buying some parts of the vast Nyse Euronext empire, including the Liffe European derivatives trading business.
Although a final decision on a bid has yet to be made, momentum appears to be building and an offer could come as early as this week.
Nasdaq OMX seems to have been caught cold by the wave of consolidation among exchanges in recent weeks that has seen the London Stock Exchange's planned tie up with Canada's TMX as well as the Nyse Euronext-Deutsche Bourse deal.
It has been linked with IntercontinentalExchange and CME Group and even the Singapore Exchange, if the latter's proposed merger with Australia's ASX falls through.
Any move for Nyse Euronext would see Nasdaq OMX dominate trading in US stocks but would do little to help it diversify and expand in higher margin areas such as derivatives.