A bidding war to buy Oslo Stock Exchange

Oslo-Trade building

writer icon - -     Stein Henningsen   |   Investment     🕐 01. Feb. 2019

There is a bidding war going on. Both the Dutch stock exchange group Euronext, and the American stock exchange company Nasdaq's Nordic department, have put in offers to buy the 200 year old Oslo Stock Exchange, Oslo Børs.

Euronext makes an offer
On Christmas eve the Dutch Euronext submitted a bid for the Oslo Stock Exchange. Euronext already owns a part of other exchanges in the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France and Portugal.

Euronext bid NOK 145 per share.

They are, however, not alone in bidding for the Oslo stock exchange. Nasdaq had been working intensively since then on an offer of their own, according to Lauri Rosendahl, CEO of Nasdaq Nordic.

“I hope we win, we have the best offer” Rosendahl says to NRK.

Nasdaq's bid values the Oslo Stock Exchange at NOK 6.5 billion. With an offer that is NOK 7 higher per share than Euronext’s offer. Nasdaq Stock Market is the second largest stock exchange in the world.

Not surprisingly, the board of the Oslo Stock Exchange is backing the offer from Nasdaq.

We believe that the offering from Nasdaq is so much better for the Norwegian capital market and the Norwegian Central Securities Depository, that it receives unanimous support from our entire board and management”, says CEO Bente Landsnes, at the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Choosing the right offer
It is, however, not only a matter of offering up the right price. A difference in approach seems to be a large factor when determining which offer Oslo Stock Exchange will go with.

The two stock exchanges have different approaches. On the one hand, Euronext submitted a bid without first contacting the board and management of Oslo Stock Exchange. This was perceived as a hostile move.

Nasdaq, on the other hand, approached and had meetings with the board and management at Oslo Stock Exchange.

Reportedly this was perceived as more friendly and Oslo Stock Exchange believes that Nasdaq is the best candidate, able to undertake the Norwegian model and ensure visibility on the international market.

The largest shareholders
The two largest shareholders in Oslo Stock Exchange, the major bank DNB and the pension fund KLP, have already pre-accepted the bid from Nasdaq.

DNB, who owns 19.8 percent of the shares in Oslo Stock Exchange, have previously said in a press release that the Oslo Stock Exchange should have a strong foundation in the Norwegian market.

Despite this, DNB recently released a press release saying that they believe "that Nasdaq offers the best industrial and strategic solution for the Norwegian capital market [..]"

KLP's CEO, Sverre Thornes shares DNB's view on this, and think that Nasdaq's bid and plans best benefits the Oslo Sotck Exchange. KLP own 10 percent of the stock themselves.

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