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Securities exchanges: Exchange consolidation sparks OTC turf war

Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext create powerhouse; Competitive playing field not level

February was an extraordinary month for M&A activity in the global exchange market after Frankfurt-based exchange Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext announced their intention to merge, in what would form the world’s largest stock and derivatives exchange. The London Stock Exchange announced that it would merge with Canada’s main exchange, TMX Group, and BATS Trading, a Kansas City-based equity trading platform established in 2008 that executes 11% of US equity trades, agreed to acquire Chi-X Europe, in the first important takeover of a new generation of execution platforms that has transformed the equity trading markets and cut into the market share of the traditional exchanges.

Exchange consolidation is stretching itself across the globe. The Singapore Exchange last month offered concessions to the Australian parliament to push through its planned merger with the Australian Stock Exchange, announced in October. The Shanghai Stock Exchange and Brazil’s BM&F Bovespa, Latin America’s biggest exchange operator, signed an agreement that is expected to lead to the cross-listings of stocks, helping to facilitate one of the world’s most important emerging bilateral trade relationships.

The wave of activity marks a second important era of industry consolidation, after a series of mergers in 2006/07 created big cross-border exchanges.

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