Hedge Funds Acquire 25% of OMX: FT

Hedge funds have acquired about 25% of OMX ahead of an expected takeover battle for the Nordic market operator between Nasdaq and Borse Dubai, the Financial Times reported.

The funds' presence paves the way for a clash between OMX's long-term shareholders and management and financial investors who want to get the highest price possible in the shortest period, the FT said.

Borse Dubai has bought a 4.9% stake in OMX with options for a further 22.5% at 230 Swedish Kroner a share, trumping an agreed deal with Nasdaq, which has offered 208 per share.

The expected takeover battle promises to pit Investor, the holding company of the Wallenberg family, and OMX's management against a range of global hedge fund managers.

Investor owns 10.7% pct of OMX and has backed Nasdaq's bid, as has OMX's management. The Swedish government, which holds 6.6% of OMX, has not expressed a view but has said price is not the only issue involved.

The FT said it is understood the hedge funds have acquired 32 million OMX shares - mainly from Swedish institutional investors - at an average price of about 212 Swedish Kroner. OMX has 120 million shares in issue. Most of these purchases were made after Nasdaq launched its bid.

Separately, Borse Dubai responded yesterday to questions from Sweden's Financial Supervisory Agency over whether or not its acquisition of a stake in OMX constituted a formal takeover offer.

It denied the move was a formal bid and insisted all Swedish regulations had been obeyed. The FSA said it would assess the response and issue its opinion in a couple of days.

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