By Erika S. Olson
The opinions expressed are her own.
Media coverage of the bidding war for NYSE Euronext has already played up the “Wall Street rivals” angle, and will inevitably continue to do so now that the Nasdaq bid was rejected this weekend. Observers have made much ado of the bad blood that’s existed between Nasdaq, NYSE, and their respective CEOs ever since the all-electronic market opened for business in 1971.
But anyone who is familiar with IntercontinentalExchange’s efforts to woo the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) in 2007 will be quick to recognize ICE chief Jeff Sprecher’s fingerprints all over the Nasdaq proposal. The joint Nasdaq-ICE bid belongs as much to Sprecher as it is does to Nasdaq’s Robert Greifeld.
Back in 2007, Sprecher waged a tumultuous 117-day bidding war against the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for the Chicago Board of Trade. And he’s already lifting a few moves from ICE’s 2007 playbook in his latest bid.
In 2007, ICE’s investment bankers warned Jeff that if his company made a surprise bid for CBOT, CME would almost certainly increase its offer within 24 hours and knock the significantly smaller exchange out of the running. But Sprecher wouldn’t relent, assuring his deal team, “I know these guys and have studied them . . . They will not get into a bidding war easily. That will be the last weapon they’ll draw.”
He was right. The Merc didn’t raise its offer high enough to turn the tide in its favor until four months later — just as Deutsche Börse hasn’t raised its bid this time round.