Euronext and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) have confirmed they are in discussions on making a joint bid for Borsa Italiana, which is currently owned by the London Stock Exchange.
The LSE bought Borsa Italiana for EUR1.6 billion in 2007 but has been trying to offload the Milan-based exchange in order to appease EU regulators and help ease a proposed $27 billion takeover of data provider Refinitiv.
The LSE has set an initial deadline of today for bids. In a brief statement, Euronext and CDP say they are talking about throwing their hats in the ring.
However, according to Reuters, they look likely to face competition from Deutsche Boerse and Switzerland's SIX Group for the Italian exchange, which could fetch north of EUR3 billion.
The LSE is looking to sell because regulators are concerned about the effect that the Refinitiv takeover could have on electronic bond trading. Borsa Italiana includes MTS Markets, which is one of Europe's top bond trading venues, while Refinitiv has a stake in Tradeweb which has a large share of the bond trading market in North America.