Deutsche Boerse AG and NYSE Euronext offered further concessions to European regulators after their previous suggestions didn’t go far enough to eliminate antitrust concerns over their merger.
The two exchanges are prepared to sell more assets to soothe concern about their dominance in the European single- equity derivatives market and will give any buyer the option to access Eurex Clearing for post-trade processing, the companies said in an e-mailed statement today. The proposals include the sale of NYSE’s London-based Liffe equity options business, according to two people familiar with the situation who declined to be identified as the remedies are private.
“The revisions are designed to reflect the European Commission’s feedback on the initial proposal,” the companies said in the statement. The proposals “fully address the Commission’s remaining concerns.”
The companies also said they will license the Eurex trading system to a third party interested in offering interest rate derivatives. A spokesman for Deutsche Boerse declined to comment on the Liffe proposals. Calls to NYSE spokesman James Dunseath seeking comment weren’t immediately returned.
European Union officials told Frankfurt-based Deutsche Boerse and New York-based NYSE at a meeting in Brussels on Dec. 6 that their Nov. 17 offer to divest some European single-equity derivatives units didn’t sway customers and rivals, according to people familiar with the discussions. Regulators also weren’t convinced that offering competitors limited access to Deutsche Boerse’s clearinghouse would do enough to foster competition for exchange-traded derivatives, the people said.
The meeting followed two days of talks with regulators in October where the exchanges also failed to alleviate antitrust concerns. Regulators have told the two companies that their deal to create the world’s largest exchange would monopolize derivatives trading in the region. The EU can block a deal or require concessions from companies to eliminate potential antitrust problems.
The deadline for the European Commission to rule on the merger has been extended until Feb. 9, the companies said today.
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