Transatlantic stock market operator NYSE Euronext said it would buy a 25 percent stake in the Doha Securities Market for $250 million, boosting its access to the fast-growing Middle East economy.
NYSE Euronext , which comprises the New York Stock Exchange and several leading European bourses, said the deal was its largest ever investment in a foreign exchange.
The state of Qatar will retain 75 percent majority ownership of the Doha Securities Market. NYSE Euronext and Qatar will build a new cash and derivatives exchange in Doha, and will also work together to explore further business opportunities in the Middle East.
The Doha deal comes amid increasing competition and consolidation among the world's top exchanges, with stock market operators looking to boost their presence in booming emerging markets amid a slowdown in western European and American economies.
"This partnership lays the foundations for us to build Doha into a world class financial center," Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani said in a statement.
"Our country's financial markets will be an integral part of a group which links together the world's major trading centers across the U.S. and Europe and now the Middle East," he added.
In February, NYSE Euronext bought a 5 percent stake in Indian commodities exchange MCX for $55 million, while in May NYSE Euronext Chief Executive Duncan Niederauer told a Reuters summit that his exchange was working with Chinese authorities on the feasibility of allowing U.S. companies to list shares in Shanghai.