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Major Oslo stock exchange shareholders had sought a buyer.
Norway will be Euronext’s 3rd-biggest country if deal happens.
Euronext NV is making a 625 million-euro ($712 million) takeover offer for Oslo Bors VPS Holding ASA after winning an auction by some of the Norwegian stock exchange operator’s biggest shareholders.
The owner of stock markets in Paris and Amsterdam approached the board of Oslo Bors at the weekend after securing the backing of 49.6 percent of the firm’s shareholders, Euronext Chief Executive Officer Stephane Boujnah said in a telephone interview. The company is offering 145 Norwegian kroner ($16.53) apiece for the remaining shares, according to a statement Monday. That’s a premium of 32 percent to the Dec. 17 closing price.
For Euronext, which acquired the Irish Stock Exchange earlier this year, the purchase of Oslo Bors would add expertise in oil-services and shipping, as well as a seafood derivatives market. The almost 200-year-old Oslo trading exchange operator is the only major Nordic bourse to remain independent: Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. runs the national stock exchanges in Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Reykjavik.
Boujnah said he wants to issue a public offer in the second half of January after visiting Oslo. He declined to comment on potential cost cuts.
Boujnah said last month that Euronext had about 650 million euros to spend on acquisitions from existing cash and debt, and could spend in total about 1 billion euros. The exchange will shy away from paying “expensive multiples” to grow, Boujnah said Nov. 12. Euronext had said it could pay a special dividend if the exchange operator was unable to nail a target by the end of next year.
Speaking on Monday, Boujnah said that the planned purchase of Oslo Bors wouldn’t prevent Euronext from making further acquisitions.
“We can still raise a little bit more debt,” he said. “Let’s see after one year.”
Euronext’s shares rose 0.3 percent to 47.60 euros at 12:06 p.m. in Paris. The Norwegian market is closed Monday for the Christmas Eve holiday.