* Euronext increases its offer above 152 Nasdaq crowns
* The new Oslo Bors offer from Euronext of 158 kroner / share
* CEO of Oslo Bors told Reuters that he was still supporting the Nasdaq offer (Adding quotations from an interview with the Euronext CEO)
By Inti Landauro and Terje Solsvik
PARIS / OSLO, Feb. 11 (Reuters) – Euronext on Monday bids its bid on Oslo Bors to about 6.79 billion Norwegian kroner ($ 786 million), which has boosted the company's interest. Norwegian operator Nasdaq.
The bidding war for one of the last independent stock markets in Northern Europe follows consolidation, motivated by the need to invest in technology and new entrants.
By raising its bid to 158 Norwegian kroner ($ 18.29) per Oslo Bors share, just hours before the end of its initial premium of 145 kroner, Euronext outbid its 152 krona per share.
Euronext, based in Paris, unveiled its first offer at the end of December with the support of a little over half of Oslo Bors' shareholders, without however convincing the board of directors of the stock market, which then convinced the Nasdaq to bid higher.
Although Euronext's executive chairman, Stéphane Boujnah, said his offer offered "obvious and superior benefits," Bente Landsnes, general manager of Oslo Bors, told Reuters that she was supporting still the Nasdaq offer, which also enjoys the support of the largest shareholder, the Norwegian bank DNB.
"We have done a thorough assessment of the best owner and stick to this assessment, we have had no contact with Euronext after our board of directors has approved Nasdaq's candidacy." added Landsnes.
FUTURE OF THE SEA?
Boujnah of Euronext went on Monday to Oslo to lend its support to the agreement, which already enjoys the "irrevocable" support of 50.5% of Oslo Bors shareholders, including a 5% stake in Euronext.
This means that for Nasdaq to win, Norwegian regulators must back it on Euronext or those who have pledged to let Euronext let them expire, which would be in August for some and in December for 38%.
"We want to make Oslo Bors a leader in the Nordic region.We want to develop Oslo Bors," Boujnah told reporters, citing the concerns of some of the shareholders opposed to the offer of # 39; Euronext.
"We will maintain a very strong presence of Oslo Bors in the local ecosystem (companies), which is very important to them.And we can make Oslo Bors a leader in the Nordic region, which is also very important for them, "he said. Reuters.
Euronext had only one meeting with DNB, on January 17, and another, on January 10, with the KLP pension fund, which holds 10% of the capital of Oslo Bors and supports also the Nasdaq, said Boujnah.
"Let's quickly forget the last five weeks and focus on how we can develop the relationship between Oslo Bors, DNB and the Norwegian (business) ecosystem," he said.
Oslo Bors would diversify Euronext's income from equity and derivatives trading, given Oslo Bors' leading position in seafood derivatives, oil services and shipping.
Euronext plans to appoint the CEO of Oslo Bors to its board of directors, in charge of all commodity operations. He added that he would also invite "a personality from the Norwegian financial sector" to his board of directors.
Originally, Euronext had been invited to bid by a group of shareholders without informing the management of Oslo Bors, whose board of directors had reacted by announcing that it would seek new bidders.
Euronext, which manages stock exchanges in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Dublin, is looking to expand, but the opportunities available to it are rare, as market operators already belong to large groups or wish to remain independent.
Large-scale mergers have also been opposed by competition regulators, who have blocked a merger between Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange. (1 $ = 8,6418 Norwegian Kroner) (Report by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Inti Landauro, Terje Solsvick and Gwladys Fouche, edited by Rashmi Aich and Alexander Smith)