The Nasdaq Stock Market plans to announce on Friday that it has agreed to buy Nordic bourse owner OMX as it expands beyond the U.S. market, according to sources familiar with the situation.
OMX, which owns and operates exchanges in Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Reykjavik and the Baltic states, has a market value of about $3.17 billion.
Nasdaq shares were halted after 4 p.m. in New York for news pending. Nasdaq declined to comment on what the news would be.
Trading in OMX shares was suspended earlier on Thursday amid speculation that a bid for the company was expected. The Swedish group said it would make an announcement on Friday.
OMX said last month it was in talks with several exchanges, but had not received any bids.
A spokesman at OMX declined to comment.
"This would bring Nasdaq a higher quality business mix with international listings and equity trading as well as some derivatives trading," said Fox-Pitt, Kelton analyst Edward Ditmire.