Three days after they unveiled their deal to merge, there are no shortage of conversations taking place among competitors of the combined NYSE Euronext/Deutsche Boerse about whether such a deal can be broken up through a higher bid for the NYSE.
In recent days, the NASDAQ, ICE and the CME have all held conversations about the possiblity of forming partnerships to make a bid for the NYSE, say numerous bankers who have played a role in those conversations.
The talks have focused on the structure of any bid and what the split would be from an economic value.
I'm told, the CME also briefly spoke with Brazil's BM&FBovespa about a joint bid, but those talks made no progress.
While industry followers believe Nasdaq is the exchange most threatened by the NYSE Euronext/Deutsche Boerse deal, it is the company with the least ability to do anything about it. Given its size, Nasdaq has to partner to make a credible, fully financed, overbid for the NYSE.
While the talks are not just the fantasy of fee-hungry bankers, the likelihood on each side that a bid will be made remains quite low.
To begin with, a joint hostile bid to break apart an existing deal is virtually unheard of.
Practically speaking, it could be done. But it's unlikely any deal would be a 50/50 split given the relative values of the businesses being sought by a joint bid.
What's more, while the NYSE has built itself through acquisitions such as Archipelago and Euronext, each of which has a cost basis, there is still a significant question about so-called tax leakage, in which taxes are paid on the purchased units.
Throw in a $340 million break up fee and a force the vote provision in the merger agreement that at the least adds more time for any overbid, and you get no shortage of hurdles to any possible bid.
While the talks amongst possible partners continue, those hurdles are likely to prevent those talks from advancing to a bid.
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