Via Financial Times

Euronext, the exchanges operator, and Swiss rival SIX Group are in a bidding war to buy BME, owner of the Madrid exchange, for at least €2.8bn, underlining the consolidation sweeping the industry in Europe.

Paris-headquartered Euronext confirmed the two sides were in talks on Monday, following a report by the Spanish-based Europa Press over the weekend. The two sides had denied they were in talks earlier in the month.

Moments later SIX, owner of the Swiss exchange, confirmed it planned to make an all-cash voluntary tender offer worth €2.8bn for the BME, to create the third-largest financial markets infrastructure group in Europe.

“Euronext confirms that it is now in talks with the board of directors of BME, which may or may not lead to an offer being made,” Euronext said.

Shares in BME, which is valued at €2.1bn, were suspended in Madrid. The Swiss offer of €34 a share is a 33 per cent premium to BME’s closing price. SIX also said it had filed an application with Spanish regulators to authorise the offer closing of the transaction. It is expected in the first half of next year.

Success for Euronext would extend its push to consolidate many of the former monopoly exchanges under one umbrella company. Euronext owns the main exchanges in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, Dublin and Oslo.

“A combination with BME will bring direct and immediate benefits to the stakeholders of both our institutions, at a time when consolidation in global financial markets infrastructure is accelerating,” Romeo Lacher, chairman of the SIX board, said.

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Consolidation in the industry was kick-started in August by the London Stock Exchange Group’s $27bn deal to buy Refinitiv, the data and trading group.

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