By Heba Abdelrahman in London
Published: September 26 2007 13:41
Nasdaq and Borse Dubai have not ruled out the possibility of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) launching a bid for OMX, the listed Nordic exchange, at higher than SEK 303 per share.
Sources close to the US and Dubai-based partners said, due to the intense competition between Dubai and Qatar, a counterbid by QIA could not be ruled out, but pointed out that the QIA would be forced to pay an exorbitant price.
A spokesperson for QIA declined to comment.
Borse Dubai and Nasdaq have secured irrevocables from shareholders representing 18% of OMX. This, together with existing shares and options, secures Borse Dubai over 47% of OMX. Under the terms of the irrevocables, a counter offer of at least SEK 303 would be required for the shareholders’ commitment to the Nasdaq/Borse Dubai offer to fall away.
Both sources said that any bid by QIA would have to be a joint effort with London Stock Exchange to give it the credibility necessary to secure regulatory approvals.
One source commented that a counterbid by QIA was a possibility if it could convince LSE to do the deal at SEK 303, while a second source close to the Nasdaq/Borse Dubai camp said a counterbid at that level would look “irrational” and “desperate”.
The second source said that the backing of important shareholders such as Investor AB and Nordea was also a strong signal to QIA. He added that they also hoped the Swedish government, which controls 6.6% of OMX, would be making a statement in support of Nasdaq and Borse Dubai.
Meanwhile, the partners are said to be comfortable with simple majority control, even though they acknowledged it would be uncomfortable if QIA continued to build its stake in OMX to a significant minority. One of the sources pointed out, however, that it would be damaging for QIA’s credibility if it attempted to frustrate the development of OMX under the Nasdaq/Borse Dubai umbrella. He pointed out that QIA wants to be seen as a serious international investor and would not hinder an asset that is strategic to its region.
Under the revised offer, Nasdaq will be contributing SEK 10 per share of the increase, while Borse Dubai will be paying an additional SEK 25 per share.
QIA------Qatar Investment Authority