The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. said Friday that it would not raise its offer to take over the London Stock Exchange before it expires this weekend.
In an announcement to the London Exchange, Nasdaq said there wasn't enough time left to make any agreement with the LSE board to sweeten the 1,243 pence (US$24.02; euro18.47) per share offer.
The announcement came just ahead of the deadline for LSE shareholders to accept the hostile offer, which values the exchange at 2.7 billion pounds (US$5.3 billion; euro4 billion).
LSE shares were down 0.2 percent at 1,280 pence (euro19.43; US$25.20) in early afternoon trading.
"In Nasdaq's view, there is now insufficient time to effect any revision of the final offers via constructive dialogue with LSE and an LSE Board recommendation by the deadline of midnight (London time) on Saturday 27 January 2007," the New York-based market said. "Accordingly, Nasdaq announces that the final offers can no longer be revised upon the recommendation of the LSE board."
Last week, the LSE promised shareholders an extra 250 million pounds (US$491 million; euro380 million) in share buybacks if they rejected the Nasdaq bid.
At the same time, the LSE raised its growth forecast, predicting that trading volumes will rise by 180 percent in the year to March 2008.
That share buyback offer came on top of 50 million pounds (euro76 million; US$98 million) offered earlier this year, and raises the total offer over the last 2 1/2 years to 974 million pounds (euro1.48 billion; US$1.9 billion).
Nasdaq is under pressure to find a European partner amid trans-Atlantic consolidation _ the New York Stock Exchange is close to completing a deal with Euronext NV, while seven investment banks, including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup Inc., have unveiled plans for a rival European platform of their own to challenge the likes of the LSE.
An LSE combination with Nasdaq would create the world's largest equity market by listings, made up of more than 6,400 quoted companies with a total market capitalization of 6.3 trillion pounds ($12.4 trillion).
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