ICE wins EU formal antitrust approval to purchase NYSE Euronext

IntercontinentalExchange Inc. won European Union approval to take over NYSE Euronext after EU regulators said the deal wouldn’t harm competition.

The deal was cleared today by the European Commission, which checks for antitrust issues with transactions in the 27- nation EU, according to an e-mailed statement.

“The commission’s investigation confirmed that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns as NYX and ICE are not direct competitors in the markets concerned and would continue to face competition from a number of other competitors,” the EU regulator said.

ICE, the energy and commodity futures bourse, agreed on Dec. 21 to acquire NYSE Euronext for cash and stock totaling $8.2 billion at the time. Shareholders of both companies approved the transaction on June 3. The deal means ICE is a step closer to gaining control of Liffe, Europe’s second-largest derivatives market. EU regulators blocked Deutsche Boerse AG’s purchase of NYSE last year, citing concern over competition in derivatives and clearing.

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