Clearstream prepares for takoever

Clearstream, the European clearing and settlement house, is in the process of speaking with rival body Euroclear and Deutsche Borse over plans for a takeover. Clearstream’s Luxembourg-based board will consider both proposals, which outline the indicative valuations and plans for the business if either party were to acquire full ownership.

Clearstream, which is 50% owned by Deutsche Borse, said the preliminary talks are “progressing well”, but declined to give any further information. Deutsche Borse’s co-shareholder in Clearstream is Cedel, a consortium of more than 90 banks and securities houses, which has been pushing Clearstream to consider a merger or takeover for the past few months.

Industry observers are saying the invitation to both groups is an attempt by Andre Roelants, Clearstream chief executive, to establish the clearing house’s future after a turbulent few months.

Former chief executive Andre Lussi was forced to step down in May after allegations of money laundering, but in July, Luxembourg public prosecutor Carlos Zeyen said he could find no evidence to support the allegations made by two French journalists in their book, Revelation$.

The news comes at a time of major consolidation in Europe’s trading sector. Germany's two electricity exchanges, the European Energy Exchange and the Leipzig Power Exchange, will merge by the start of next year. Meanwhile, the board of the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (Liffe) has unanimously voted to recommend a £555 million ($806 million) cash takeover bid by pan-European exchange operator Euronext to its shareholders.

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