OSLO (Reuters) – The operator of the London stock exchange (LSE) is reportedly interested in bidding for Norway’s Oslo Bors OSLO.NFF which, if correct, could trigger a bidding war for the Norwegian exchange, already the subject of a bid by Euronext (ENX.PA).
The LSE (LSE.L) has enlisted an unidentified bank to consider how a deal for Oslo Bors could be put together, an anonymous source close to the company was quoted as saying by the London-based Evening Standard newspaper on Monday.
Oslo Bors and the LSE declined to comment on the report.
Following the news, shares in LSE were up 1.6 percent and were the biggest blue-chip gainers in London.
GRAPHIC: Oslo Bors rides takeover interest high – tmsnrt.rs/2RUW4DT
Euronext, operator of bourses in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Dublin, has offered to buy Oslo Bors for 625 million euros ($720 million) and secured the backing of a majority of shareholders in December.
But holding company Oslo Bors VPS took issue with how Euronext made its approach and is conducting its own process. It said on Jan. 11 it had received interest from other parties
One of these parties could be Nasdaq (NDAQ.O), which owns stock exchanges in several Nordic countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Finland, according to the Financial Times.
If LSE were to bid, it would be its first attempt at a deal with a stock market operator since European regulators blocked its proposed merger with Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE) in 2017.
At the time, that was the fifth attempt at an Anglo-German tie up. It unravelled in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Since then, the LSE has been seen in the market as a takeover target rather than a predator with rivals Intercontinental Exchange (ICE.N) and CME (CME.O) in the United States long seen as suitors, analysts have said.
LSE and Oslo Bors have a closed working relationship: LSE has been providing the technology for the Oslo Bors equity, fixed income and derivatives markets since 2009, according to the Oslo Bors website.
Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Ole Petter Skonnord in Oslo and Noor Zeinab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter