Shareholders back Deutsche Börse merger

Shareholders controlling more than 80 percent of German stock market operator Deutsche Börse approved Thursday a merger with NYSE Euronext to create the world's biggest stock exchange.

Shareholders back Deutsche Börse merger
Photo: DPA

The result surpassed a minimum level of 75 percent needed to approve the deal, Deutsche Börse said in a statement.

A detailed figure is to be published on Friday but the offer is also to be extended by two weeks to allow hold-outs to exchange their Deutsche Börse shares for ones in a new Dutch-based holding company.

Shareholder approval was one of the the last major obstacles to the merger plan as NYSE Euronext shareholders had approved the deal on Thursday.

It still requires the approval of competition authorities, however, since the new group covers Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, New York, Lisbon and Paris and will have a quasi-monopoly on areas such as European derivatives trading.

The European Commission is studying the deal and is to give its opinion by August 4, while the partners aim to finalise the merger by the end of the year.

The new company is valued at $25 billion (€17.6 billion) and the deal has sparked controversy in the United States because it would hand over the 221-year-old New York Stock Exchange to foreign owners.

NYSE Euronext chief executive Duncan Niederaurer admitted last week that NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Börse would need to make some concessions to regulators but insisted that the merged company would not spin off any of its European derivatives exchanges.

“It would be unprecedented for us to divest one of the derivative exchanges. That’s a huge part of the value creation opportunity,” Niederaurer said.

Under the terms of their February 15 merger proposal, Deutsche Börse shareholders will own 60 percent of the new combined, Netherlands-incorporated firm, and the German company will dominate the new board.

If the merger is finalised, the new company will be headquartered in both Frankfurt and New York.

“This is the first step in creating a total, complete, global exchange that offers transparency, connectivity and a suite of product offerings that will define and shape the future of investing,” said Kenneth Polcari, a floor trader at the New York Stock Exchange.

Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext expect to make annual cost savings of €400 million from 2012 and forecast increased earnings.

As for the name of the new company, it was not expected to be revealed “for a few months,” a source close to the matter said.


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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.