Two months after announcing that NYSE Euronext had agreed in principle to be acquired by German exchange operator Deutsche Börse for $9.7 billion, NYSE Euronext senior vice president and corporate secretary Janet McGinness and her legal team were faced with the possibility of the deal falling apart. In April, NASDAQ OMX and IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) made a competing bid of $11.3 billion to acquire the 219-year-old New York exchange in a brazen attempt to steal the deal.
The merger was the deal of a lifetime, creating the largest stock market in the world, with $20 trillion in annual trading volume. All the work that McGinness, NYSE Euronext group executive vice president and general counsel John Halvey and the legal team had put into executing the right strategy and filing the necessary paperwork with the proper regulatory agencies was suddenly at risk of being undone by a last-minute flash of cash.
Ordinarily a company would be thrilled to have other firms step in and drive up its sale price for a better payout for shareholders, but there was more at stake than the nearly $2 billion that separated the two bids – McGinness and her team were more concerned with making sure that NYSE Euronext was acquired by the right partner for its long-term success as an exchange. The prospective buyer’s strategy for company expansion and future revenues was, therefore, considered more valuable than the cash value of the offer.
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