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Oslo Børs VPS puts itself up for grabs

Euronext bids to take over Scandinavia’s last independent stock exchange, including settlement ex-monopoly VPS. But the outcome hangs in the air after Oslo Børs VPS responds by inviting rival offers.

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It was on 24 December that Euronext announced that it plans to offer 6.24 billion NOK (€625 million) for all outstanding shares of the Norwegian company – after a group of Oslo Børs VPS shareholders had organized an invitation for an offer.

Euronext said it had already secured 49.6 percent through a combination of binding pre-commitments from existing shareholders, and share purchases of its own.

Board not convinced

The stock price jumped to the offered level, 145 NOK, when trading opened after Christmas on 27 December, up from around 120 NOK previously. But on the day after, the board of Oslo Børs VPS (OBVPS) challenged the bidder by putting the legitimacy of the setup into question.

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”OBVPS has subsequently been made aware that a compact auction process which was carried out prior to the board being notified, was carried out such that certain strategic relevant participants did not take part in the process,” the board wrote in a statement.

Arctic Securities was hired as advisor.

Open to all

Then, on 4 January Oslo Børs VPS threw a jump ball by publicly inviting rival bids, scheduling that ”the process will take place now in January”.

Euronext includes the stock exchanges of Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Lisbon and, since March 2018, Dublin.

The Oslo Børs VPS group consists of three parts. The exchange, being the only one in the Nordic region that is still owned independently, runs five marketplaces: Oslo Børs, Oslo Axess, Merkur Market, Nordic ABM and Oslo Connect. The other two parts of the group are Norway’s ex-monopoly settlement actor VPS, and technology provider Oslo Market Solutions.

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