Firms braced for final fight in LSE bid war

By this time next week the outcome of the battle for the London Stock Exchange (LSE) will be known, as Nasdaq’s £2.7bn bid will formally expire on 10 February. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer corporate partner David Higgins is working with Cravath Swaine & Moore to defend the LSE from Nasdaq’s advances, which have become increasingly hostile. Nasdaq has instructed Allen & Overy and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. On 26 January Nasdaq closed the book on any possibility of it raising its £12.43-a-share cash offer. Fewer than 1 per cent of the LSE’s shareholders accepted Nasdaq’s bid. This week Nasdaq has focused on lobbying hedge funds to sell their stakes in the LSE to it. This is the second time in 12 months that Nasdaq has taken a run at the LSE. Since its first advance in March 2006 Nasdaq has spent £854m on building a stake in the LSE, which now amounts to 28.75 per cent.