Nasdaq Fails in Attempt at Hostile Takeover Bid for London Stock Exchange

The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. failed in its $5.3 billion hostile bid for the London Stock Exchange PLC, revealing Saturday that it had received acceptances worth just 0.41 percent of the British bourse's ordinary shares.

Even added to the 28.75 percent share holding the New York-based exchange built up by buying in the market in recent months, that remained well short of the 50 percent it needed to begin taking control.

Revealing the results after a formal deadline for shareholders to accept the $24.35 per share bid had passed, Nasdaq stuck by its claim that the LSE was overvalued.

"We are naturally disappointed at this outcome as we remain of the view that the final offers represented a full and fair price for LSE shareholders," said Nasdaq Chief Executive Officer Bob Greifeld said in a statement. "However, this disappointment is tempered by the knowledge that we remained true to our value case."

The LSE has almost tripled its share value from 450 pence two years ago with Chief Executive Clara Furse winning praise in Britain for holding out against a number of failed suitors, including Nasdaq, Deutsche Boerse AG and Australia's Macquarie Bank Ltd. Euronext NV, the operator of the Amsterdam, Paris, Lisbon, and Brussels exchanges which is now being acquired by the NYSE Group Inc., also previously expressed interest without ever stating a price.

LSE shares closed flat at $25 on Friday.

Greifeld has consistently argued that the stock has been vastly inflated in recent years because of cross-Atlantic takeover fever and claims that the LSE is misleading shareholders by basing its growth prospects on "self-serving and misguided peer group selection."

Nasdaq, which is now barred under British takeover law from renewing its bid for a year, did not say what it planned to do with the 29.16 percent stake it retains.

Greifeld has previously indicated that Nasdaq may keep its stake in the expectation that the LSE's shares will return to more appropriate levels.

Greifeld said that Nasdaq would consider offering its technology to an LSE rival — a consortium of banks, known as Project Turquoise, is planning a platform. The move appears to be part of Nasdaq's efforts to drive down the exchange's share price.

"Nasdaq will continue to pursue other opportunities to build on its existing position as the world's largest electronic equities exchange and we look forward to maintaining our strong track record of creating shareholder value through our industry-leading business model and strategy," Greifeld said in the statement.

A combination of the Nasdaq and LSE would have created the world's second trans-Atlantic exchange with about 6,400 listed companies carrying a total market value of $11.8 trillion.