EU Will Probe Plans to Merge Stock Exchanges

     (CN) – The European Commission launched a 90-day investigation of the proposed merger between Europe’s two largest derivative exchanges, Deutsche Börse AG and NYSE Euronext Inc.
     The two companies submitted the plan in June. Most mergers clear the commission in a one-month review, but competition concerns can prompt an in-depth investigation, as in this case.
     The commission said it opted for a longer review, noting worries that the merger would have anticompetitive effects and reduce innovation in derivatives products and technology solutions. The merger may also make it harder for competitors to enter the market, according to the commission.
     “The proposed merger would remove a strong competitor from the market and would give the merged company by far the leading position in derivatives trading in Europe,” Joaquín Almunia, commission vice president in charge of competition policy, said in a statement. “The commission needs to make sure that markets which are at the heart of the financial sector remain competitive and efficiently deliver to users.”
     Deutsche Börse operates a number of stock exchanges worldwide, including the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the Eurex derivative exchange. In addition to its namesake exchange in New York City, NYSE operates stock exchanges in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris.
     The commission must decide by Dec. 13 whether the transaction will reduce competition in the European Economic Area.

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