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Achtung! Icap rumoured to be in play

Consequences of consolidation.

As readers know, I am a small shareholder in Icap, so I was pleased to see the company’s shares catch a bit of a bid last week  – it played for some of my other losses, which I won’t go into. Various reasons were touted for the minor rally. One suggested the rise was because of the approach made to Reuters; another hinted that Michael Spencer was poised to sell up and concentrate on politics. The consequence of the latter, it was suggested, would be that Icap would get taken over by Deutsche Börse.

Deutsche Börse has really struggled to play a role in the consolidation dance that the exchanges are doing, even though it was probably the first to start the process. It created the first cross-border merger with the Swiss Exchange when it formed derivatives exchange Eurex almost a decade ago. Since then, it has been rebuffed several times by the London Stock Exchange, got stiffed by the Chicago Board of Trade and saw Euronext form into what looked initially to be an anti-German alliance by the French, Dutch, Belgian and then Portuguese. Euronext then looked to boost its alliance by merging with the New York Stock Exchange.

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