New York: Nasdaq, the top US electronic stock market, is not seriously considering going private, its CEO said on 8 May, although he added that he saw private equity firms boosting their role in exchange consolidation.
”First and foremost we are a fiduciary for our shareholders so we would entertain any reasonable proposal,” Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld said, responding to a question about whether he’d consider a leveraged buyout. ”But it certainly is not anything we have considered in any meaningful manner.”
Despite a recent boom in private equity, leveraged buyouts have so far not played a major role in the consolidating exchanges sector, where deals like the NYSE Euronext have pushed exchange deals into the spotlight.
But that could change, with private equity looking deeper into the financial services sector. Leveraging a financial institution with debt is no longer seen as a major hurdle, as last month’s $25 billion takeover bid for student loan company Sallie Mae
Indeed, buyout firms could contribute to the wave of consolidation sweeping up financial exchanges, Greifeld said on Tuesday.
“They are playing a role certainly in Nasdaq and we are fortunate to have them as investors,” he said.
Among Nasdaq’s largest shareholders are private equity firms Hellman & Friedman LLC and Silver Lake, according to regulatory filings.
Greifeld also said he sees potential for consolidation in options trading, a business Nasdaq is entering this year. In addition to public exchanges like NYSE and the International Securities Exchange, several smaller exchanges like the American and Philadelphia Stock Exchange also handle options trading.