A&O and Wachtell lead as Nasdaq announces $1.1bn ISE purchase

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz have won lead mandates on Nasdaq’s $1.1bn (£770m) acquisition of Deutsche Börse asset International Securities Exchange Holdings (ISE).

The magic circle firm worked with the seller Deutsche Börse, with corporate partner Peter Harwich leading the team in New York alongside Frankfurt-based partner Hartmut Krause.

They were assisted by US tax head Jack Heinberg, employment senior counsel Brian Jebb and antitrust head Elaine Johnston, all based in New York.

Meanwhile Nasdaq turned to longstanding adviser Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, which fielded a team including corporate partner David Lam and antitrust partner and counsel team, David Schwartz and Franco Castelli.

Partners Jeannemarie O’Brien, Eric Rosof and Joshua Holmes handled executive compensation, finance and tax issues respectively.

Jones Day also advised Nasdaq on antitrust issues, with practice head David Wales leading in Washington DC.

Under the agreement, Deutsche Börse will divest ISE to Nasdaq, with the deal expected to complete in the second half of 2016. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange operator first bought ISE back in 2008 and is currently in talks with the London Stock Exchange over a possible merger.

Background to the deal 

In this deal, A&O has taken the lead role for Deutsche Börse, with teams based in both the US and Europe. The divesture could give the operator the upper hand as discussions advance with the London Stock Exchange – a deal which has seen both Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer winning roles.

Last year, A&O advised Deutsche Börse on its joint venture with the Shanghai Stock Exchange and China Financial Futures Exchange.

Meanwhile Wachtell has a history of working on stock exchange merger discussions, advising New York Stock Exchange owner NYSE Euronext on its proposed tie-up with Deutsche Börse in 2011. In this deal, Linklaters worked with the other side.