A&O instructed by Nasdaq for Easdaq share purchase

Allen & Overy (A&O) has advised the Nasdaq Stock Market on its acquisition of a majority share in European stock exchange Easdaq, its first major deal for the client.

London partner Alan Paul has been working with Nasdaq for about a year, but had not performed a transaction for the client until now. It is also one of the biggest deals for the firm’s new Belgian partners, who joined on 1 January when the firm merged with Loeff Claeys Verbeke.

Brussels-based corporate partner Peter Bienenstock led the deal, which was mainly Belgium-focused, but worked closely with Paul in London. The firm also called on Brussels partners Philippe Hamer and Filip Van Elsen advised on regulatory aspects and IP/IT respectively.

Nasdaq now plans to restructure Easdaq into a pan-European market called Nasdaq Europe, so there should be more work for A&O. Nasdaq will start off with 58 per cent of the company, but after the exercise of outstanding warrants and the issue of more shares, it will own about 51 per cent.

The deal is subject to approval by Easdaq shareholders.

Bienenstock says: “I’ve personally been on this deal for about two months, as we only joined up with A&O on 1 January, and Nasdaq really came through London. This deal was basically done in Belgium because Easdaq is a Belgian company and subject to Belgian regulation, so most of the issues were Belgian ones.

“But both sides have London offices, and there were broader issues for Nasdaq in doing this deal, which London dealt with. Now they’re clearly expanding, and I guess that they’re going to try for pretty much global coverage.”

Easdaq was advised on Belgian regulatory issues by Hans Gilliams, lead partner at Belgian firm Dieux Geens Cornelis. More general issues were dealt with by Todd Ackerley, a securities partner at Covington & Burling in Washington. Both had advised it since its inception in 1996.