Deals comment

Euronext noses ahead in race for London Stock Exchange


Euronext noses ahead in race for London Stock Exchange
Euronext has emerged as a dark horse in the race for the London Stock Exchange (LSE) after the Competition Commission cleared the way for a possible bid. Directors of the LSE were reported to have met last week to discuss strategic options, including a nil-premium merger with Euronext and the sale to the highest cash bidder. It is understood LSE chief executive Clara Furse (pictured) prefers a merger with Euronext. The recent Competition Commission win can be attributed to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton competition partner Nick Levy. The LSE’s head of legal Catherine Johnson also played a key role regarding competition issues before the commission. Slaughter and May corporate partners Frances Murphy and Nilufer von Bismarck, as well as Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partner John Brinitzer, have been representing Euronext on the corporate aspects of the potential transaction. The Competition Commission has also given the green light, subject to a series of agreed undertakings, to Deutsche Börse’s bid, represented by Ashurst. Euronext and Deutsche Börse got the go-ahead at the same time as the LSE rejected a bid by Nasdaq, represented by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

Pendragon turns the tables on Lookers with hostile bid
The battle lines between Pendragon and Lookers have been drawn once more. Last year the two companies hit the headlines in a counter-bid battle for car dealership Reg Vardy, advised by Dickinson Dees. Pendragon, advised by CMS Cameron McKenna, emerged as the winner, beating off a rival bid from Lookers, which was advised by Addleshaw Goddard. But, in a twist of fate, Pendragon has now put up a £267m hostile bid for Lookers. Lookers has responded by increasing divided payments by 26 per cent. But an outcome will have to wait until next month, when shareholders see the final offer document.