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Varney: Bid for NYSE Was ‘Merger to Monopoly’
By Andrew Ramonas | May 16, 2022 3:13 pm

The Justice Department viewed the potential union of NASDAQ OMX Group Inc. and NYSE Euronext as a merger that would result in a monopoly, making remedies for the now-scrapped $11.3 billion deal “highly unlikely,” Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney of the Antitrust Division said Monday.

NASDAQ CEO Bob Greifeld said in a statement that his company offered “a variety of substantial remedies” in the failed effort by NASDAQ and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. to acquire NYSE, including the sale of NYSE businesses. But the proposals did not sway the DOJ, which announced Monday that it would have gone to court to block the deal if NASDAQ and ICE did not withdraw the unsolicited offer they made April 1 for NYSE.

The merger would have given the companies “virtually 100 percent of the market share in several markets,” Varney said, in a conference call with journalists. NASDAQ and NYSE are the top two U.S. stock exchanges.

The deal would have put NYSE’s stock trading venues, market data licensing operations and stock listings business under NASDAQ’s control and given the NYSE futures business to ICE.

“We believe that if these two competitors had merged they would effectively create a monopoly that would lead to higher prices, inferior service and less innovation,” Varney said. “The acquisition would have removed incentives for competitive pricing, high quality of service and innovation in the listings, trading and data services that these exchange operators provide to the investing public.”


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