European Commission antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia has told Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext that he plans to block their $9 billion merger, the Financial Times said in its online edition on Tuesday.
Almunia, the European competition commissioner, has told the companies that he plans to prohibit their bid to create the world's biggest exchange group, the Financial Times said, without citing its sources.
Asked to comment on the report, a spokesman for the European Commission said: "The decision concerning this proposed merger is due to be taken by the Commission before 9 February. Until the decision is taken, we cannot comment, confirm and/or deny anything."
Almunia's case team have drafted an official recommendation to disallow the deal because it would create a dominant player in European exchange traded derivatives markets, the Financial Times said, citing two people involved in the process.
Although the EU antitrust case team and Almunia work closely together, it remains unclear whether Almunia shares the views of the case team.
An EU source said it is likely that a draft proposal on the decision is out now.
The European Commission has demanded that Deutsche Boerse and NYSE sell either the Eurex derivatives arm or Liffe, the Financial Times said, a move that both exchanges have ruled out so far.
Reuters reported last month that European Commission antitrust officials showed no sign of being swayed by last-ditch arguments to save the deal, forcing Deutsche Boerse and NYSE to lobby European Commissioners, including Almunia directly.
Deutsche Boerse on Tuesday said: "Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext have not received yet any decision by the European Commission regarding the requested merger of both companies. The Commission has announced that it will make its final ruling on whether to clear the proposed merger by Feb. 9, 2012. As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on speculation."
NYSE Euronext said it has not yet received an official decision by the European commission.
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