Euronext acquires 100 percent of Irish Stock Exchange in 'strategic' move

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Pan-European exchange Euronext has announced its acquisition of the Irish Stock Exchange for €137 million ($162.48 million).

Pan-European exchange Euronext has announced its acquisition of 100 percent of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) for €137 million ($162.48 million).

The transaction represents a move by the ISE to deepen ties with mainland Europe and an effort by Euronext to expand its revenue base and its position in debt and fund listings.

Asked if the deal was focused primarily on bridging Brexit uncertainties, ISE Chief Executive Deirdre Somers told CNBC that she did not believe that to be the case.

"This deal is very strategically driven by the Irish Stock Exchange," she said Thursday. "We decided that we have growth ambitions, and that we needed the technology and the brand and some of the capabilities we didn't have ourselves, and we decided ultimately that Euronext was the best complement for us."

The ISE has more than 30,000 securities from 80 countries and 4,000 issuers listed on its markets.

"Brexit has two consequences for Ireland," Somers went on. "The first is obviously the immediate impact of Brexit on the Irish economy. The second is that we need to redefine our relationship with a very different Europe, a Europe without the U.K.

"The U.K. has been a very natural ally for Ireland, particularly in financial services in the past. So without a doubt this is a pivot toward the EU, it's a pivot toward our colleagues in Europe, and it's the ISE saying our future is in Europe, and we prefer to be part of that European family in a more integrated way."

Stephane Boujnah, chief executive of Euronext, described the deal as strategic.

"This transaction gives us access to a much more diversified revenue base by expanding into the field of leading performance in debt funds and ETFs (exchange traded funds)," Boujnah said.

"And at the same time, it gives us access to a new geography and enlarges the relevance, especially post-Brexit, because in a post-Brexit environment three out of the four cities that are going to be the potential recipients of the post Brexit financial communities — Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin – now Dublin, Amsterdam and Paris will be operating under the same roof."

Euronext aims to step up the ISE's profile as a center for debt, funds and ETF listings. The pan-European group also intends to strengthen its position in relation to larger rivals like Germany's Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange.

Ireland will be the most recent addition to the list of countries in which Euronext operates, joining France, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands and the U.K.

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