France warms to D.Boerse-NYSE Euronext deal

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Deutsche Boerse AG’s (DB1Gn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) bid to buy NYSE Euronext (NYX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) looks like a smart move, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said on Thursday, striking a more positive tone about the deal.

“It was my initial concern — is that going to be a New York-Frankfurt alliance and Paris will fall between the cracks? I don’t think so,” Lagarde told Reuters Insider in an interview.

“I think that it’s a smart move. It’s a reinforcement of an alliance that has worked, that has proven to work… I think it’s going to be a very powerful player and one that is certainly going to rival, satisfactorily I hope, with London.”

Deutsche Boerse unveiled its $10.2 billion takeover of NYSE Euronext last month to form the world’s largest exchange operator, part of a wave of tie-ups in the increasingly competitive and global exchange world.

The merged group would dominate exchange-based European derivatives trading, with operations spanning the United States, Germany, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium.

Shortly after the deal was announced in February, French authorities expressed concern that Euronext’s Paris headquarters should not lose out. Lagarde said at the time she was watching the plan carefully to make sure markets were properly regulated.

(Reporting by Rhonda Schaffler and Ann Saphir; Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Andrew Hay)

France warms to D.Boerse-NYSE Euronext deal