Swedish stock exchange operator OMX AB said Friday it bought a 10 percent stake in the Oslo bourse, adding the stake to its widening expansion across the Nordics.
OMX said it bought 500,000 shares for 317 million Swedish kronor (US$44 million; euro34.2 million).
Stockholm, Sweden-based OMX controls all the Nordic region's stock exchanges except for the Oslo Boers after announcing its acquisition of the Icelandic stock exchange last month. Oslo bourse spokesman Tor Arne Olsen said the purchase does not change the Norwegian exchange's strategy of remaining independent.
Shares for both stock exchanges fell slightly, with OMX trading down 0.6 percent at 134.5 kronor (US$18.38; euro14.45). Olso Boers was down 0.4 percent 311.42 kroner (US$47.18; euro37.14).
Though it prefers to remain independent, the Oslo Boers cooperates with OMX as part of the NOREX alliance _ the common trading platform used in Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
"The acquisition of this stake in Oslo Boers is an attractive investment opportunity for OMX," OMX Chief Executive Magnus Bocker said. "We know the company well through the Nordic cooperation and look forward to continuing to develop our close working relationship in the future."
OMX is in the process of expanding its presence across the Nordic and Baltic states, agreeing last month to acquire the Iceland stock exchange in a deal worth about 250 million kronor (US$34 million; euro27 million).
It signed a letter of intent with the owner of Reykjavik-based ICEX, Eignarhaldsfelagid Verdbrefathing Hf, to buy the bourse operator. A formal agreement is expected by the end of October.
OMX already operates the exchanges in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
The move by OMX came as European and U.S. exchanges are in the midst of sweeping consolidation. Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. has amassed a 25 percent stake in the London Stock Exchange Group PLC, while NYSE Group Inc. _ owner of the New York Stock Exchange _ is in the midst of trying to merge with European bourse operator Euronext NV.
Last week, OMX launched its Nordic list, harmonizing the presentation of Swedish, Danish and Finnish listed companies. Iceland stocks will be added to the Nordic list next year.
On Wednesday, OMX sold its stake in the central securities depository VPC AB, to instead focus on developing the OMX Nordic Exchange.
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