Nasdaq CEO: NYSE Euronext is good for Paris: report

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – NASDAQ (NDAQ.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive Robert Greifeld is seeking to win the support of Paris as part of an intense lobbying effort to scupper a merger between NYSE Euronext (NYX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research). Just as Greifeld is tapping into nationalist sentiment in the United States, selling a combination of Nasdaq, the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and NYSE as an “American deal,” he is also pushing the message that a merger is good for France.

In an interview with French financial daily L’Agefi, Greifeld signaled he would offer the French a board seat and seek to bolster the importance of Paris as a financial center in a combination between Nasdaq and the operator of the Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Portugal exchanges.

Earlier this month, Nasdaq OMX and IntercontinentalExchange bid $11.3 billion for NYSE Euronext in an effort to trump an earlier offer from Deutsche Boerse, operator of the Frankfurt stock exchange.

“We and the NYSE took diametrically opposite paths when we respectively bought OMX and Euronext, ” Greifeld told L’Agefi. “We did not give in to the temptation of London and allowed Stockholm to develop a financial center that is stronger than it was three years ago. We want to do the same in Paris.”

Greifeld is referring to a recent move by Euronext which recently moved data rooms to London, where large French institutions like BNP Paris (BNPP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) have large trading operations.

While there is little appetite for unwinding the migration of the data centers from Europe’s investment banking hub in London, Greifeld is astutely tapping in to French fears of being marginalized in any deal between the Frankfurt and New York-based exchange operators.

The French authorities initially reacted with caution to the proposed merger between Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext, expressing concern that Euronext’s Paris headquarters should not lose out.

“I am looking at this with close attention and obviously concern for the security, the stability of markets which are regulated and well supervised,” said Economy Minister Christine Lagarde.

She later softened her tone, saying she was less concerned about Paris “falling through the cracks.

(Reporting by Lionel Laurent and Blaise Robinson in Paris; writing by Edward Taylor in Frankfurt; Editing by David Cowell)

Nasdaq CEO: NYSE Euronext is good for Paris: report