Swiss Stock Exchange operator SIX is to make a EUR2.84 billion all-cash tender offer for Spain's Bolsas y Mercados Españoles, setting up a likely bidding war with pan-European exchange Euronext.
BME has strategic significance for SIX, giving the exchange a foothold inside the European market after Brussels blocked EU-based investors from trading on Swiss exchanges from July this year as a row escalated over a stalled bilateral treaty.
Romeo Lacher, chairman of the SIX Board, says: “A combination with BME will bring direct and immediate benefits to the stakeholders of both our institutions, at a time when consolidation in global financial markets infrastructure is accelerating."
Euronext, which has yet to make a competing offer but is currently mulling its options, would see a takeover of BME as a way to scale its business to better compete with larger rival exchanges in London and Germany.
A merger between BMe and SIX would push Euronext down the rankings, creating the third-largest financial market infrastructure group in Europe.
In a brief statement, Euronext says: "Euronext confirms that it is now in talks with the Board of Directors of BME, which may or may not lead to an offer being made."