Nasdaq OMX Group and Carlyle Group Talked Buyout in January

Michael Teague  |

Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ) saw its stock jump significantly by mid-day (up 3.46 percent sending shares to their highest point since the crash of 2008), resulting from reports that it had been in talks with the Carlyle Group (CG) about a buyout.  The talks between the second largest stock-exchange operator in the world and the private equity group took place three weeks ago and reportedly faltered on a disagreement between the two over the value of NDAQ.

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The last two years have seen a spate of attempts to buy out exchange companies, with this latest report coming less than a month after IntercontinentalExchange’s (ICE) $8.2 billion acquisition of NYSE Euronext (NYX).  The talks between Nasdaq and Carlyle likely hinged in part on the latter’s CFO Adeena Friedman who, before joining Carlyle in 2011 had been with Nasdaq in a variety of capacities since 1993.  Indeed, shortly after her arrival at Carlyle, the company went public on the Nasdaq.

With a general decline in trade revenues, Nasdaq has recently been attempting to cut expenses, as well as reorient itself towards more profitable products such as derivatives. After a stronger than expected 2012 fourth-quarter earnings report, however it is not clear if this has anything to do with NDAQ’s potential interest in going private.

Both companies have been very tight-lipped about the discussions. After Fox Business Network initially broke the news earlier today, nobody from either side of the talks has been willing to put their name on a statement, and has not said more than that the talks broke down around three weeks ago, after a difference of opinion regarding the overall worth of Nasdaq in the context of a buyout.

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