Nasdaq,B.Dubai sweeten OMX bid, secure more shares

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STOCKHOLM/DUBAI, Sep 26 (Reuters) Nasdaq and Borse Dubai on Wednesday raised their bid for OMX by 15 percent and said they were close to owning a majority stake, moving swiftly to eliminate competition from rival suitors for the Nordic exchange operator.

Borse Dubai is offering 265 Swedish crowns (.57) per share, up from a previous offer of 230 crowns. It has now secured 47.6 percent of OMX in stock or options for shares.

State-owned Borse Dubai and Nasdaq said the bid values OMX at .9 billion, compared with the original billion under the previous Borse Dubai offer.

The companies made the pre-emptive strike after a Qatar group started buying OMX shares at 260 crowns last week. They said the offer is binding unless a competing offer is made for at least 303 crowns per share.

Borse Dubai agreed with Nasdaq last week to go ahead with the OMX bid then sell the exchange to the U.S. stock exchange company in return for a 20 percent stake in the combined group.

Nasdaq and Borse Dubai also changed the minimum acceptance level to above 50 percent from 90 percent.

''Nasdaq and Borse Dubai are joining efforts to provide a compelling, long-term enhancement and growth strategy for OMX and the Nordic and Baltic region,'' the companies said in a joint statement.

The companies said they had irrevocable undertakings from major OMX shareholders Investor and Nordea to acquire their stakes.

Investor owns 10.7 percent of OMX and Nordea 5.2 percent, according to recent industry data.

Nasdaq Chief Executive Bob Greifeld said OMX founder Olof Stenhammar and OMX Chief Executive Magnus Bocker also had agreed to sell their stakes. Stenhammar owns 1.4 percent of OMX and Bocker 0.1 percent, according to market data.

''We will seek to be a catalyst to attract more investment, listings and trading to the Nordic and Baltic marketplace,'' Greifeld said in the statement.

Trading in OMX shares resumed on Wednesday after being suspended earlier, rising above the increased bid level with a 2.8 percent gain to 278.5 crowns by 1002 GMT.

The Qatar Investment Authority, which last week urged OMX shareholders to take no action on the Dubai/Nasdaq offer, began acquiring shares and now owns 9.98 percent.

QIA, which also bought a 20 percent stake in the LSE last week, said its purchases were ''strategic''.

In acquiring the LSE stake last week, QIA said it did not plan to make an offer for the London exchange but reserved its position if a third party were to make a bid.

REUTERS PBB RN1613

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