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Barnier offers hope to NYSE/Boerse

Wednesday 25 January 2012 – by Andrew Hickley

Michel Barnier - photo by European Commission
Influential European commissioner Michel Barnier has offered a glimmer of hope for the proposed merger between NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Boerse.

The internal market and services commission indicated on Tuesday that he wants to give more time to review the deal. It is understood that the commissioner has placed a ‘waiting reserve’ on the deal, giving Barnier the right to challenge the verdict of the commission’s competition authority.

Competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia is expected to block the deal after NYSE and Deutsche Boerse refused a compromise deal that would have seen the groups having to sell off one of their derivatives businesses.

The proposed $17bn (€13.1bn) merger has been criticised in some quarters as it would create a dominant player in the derivatives market. Together, DB’s European derivatives exchange Eurex and NYSE’s Liffe account for over 90 per cent of some categories of derivatives trading across Europe.

Barnier’s office said that the busy commissioner would now look at the merits of the deal following a series of lengthy international trips.

“The decision that must be taken by the college is important, and the commissioner Michel Barnier who has been on a long, official trip to China, Japan and then London, hopes to take the personal time necessary before deciding on the issue,” a spokeswoman for Barnier said on Wednesday.

The commission is expected to vote on whether to allow the merger at the start of February, the spokesperson added.

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