Has Nasdaq Unloaded Its Interest In LSE?

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Nasdaq (NDAQ) has not had much luck in the M&A markets. Its most embarrassing attempt at increasing its presence overseas was it run at the London Stock Exchange. NDAQ ended up with 31% of the UK operation, but nothing else to show for it. Nasdaq has put that holding on the market and it appears that Qatar’s state investment fund will buy it for $1.72 billion.

NDAQ needs the money. The exchange said on Friday that it may consider sweetening its bid for the company the Swedish exchange OMX AB. The US exchange operator is locked in a battle for OMX with Borse Dubai, the owner of the Dubai stock exchange.

Now that NYSE (NYX) has picked up Euronext, Wall St. wants to know whether NDAQ can at least find one foreign exchange that wants to be acquired. After a tough year, its shares have rallied, perhaps on the perception that it is about to break-through as an international operator.

With NDAQ stock trading where it was in late 2005, Wall St. hopes that the exchange will not fail to land another fish.

Douglas A. McIntyre