How to gum up an exchange merger: salt water
It’s a puzzle M&A bankers and corporate executives have been trying to solve for years: how far from your home market can an acquisition take place and ultimately stumble over cultural differences? It’s a question that looms large as quintessentially Italian automaker Fiat prepares to swallow up Chrysler — inventor of the K-car and the minivan — and which reportedly haunts St Louis-based employees of Anheuser Busch in the aftermath of their company’s takeover by the penny pinching Belgians and Brazilians at InBev.
Gary Katz, CEO of Deutsche Boerse unit International Securities Exchange, insisted during his appearance at the Reuters Exchanges and Trading Summit that all has been sweetness and light since the Germans assumed control of the upstart American options exchange and that there has been “nearly zero turnover” since the takeover.
But Thomas Kloet, Chief Executive of Canadian exchange powerhouse TMX, was one of several executives at the summit who insisted that cross border mergers can often be a recipe for disaster and that the ideal mergers are “domestic roll-ups” like CME Group’s takeover of Nymex and the Chicago Board of Trade or indeed TSX Group’s takeover of the Montreal Exchange, which created TMX.
Implicitly criticizing some of the first-ever cross border deals in the sector like NYSE’s merger with Euronext, Kloet said: “there are significant regulatory differences that make cross border mergers pretty difficult to do, especially when they start passing over salt water, so to speak.”
Listen to the attached recording to hear the former ABN AMRO senior managing director’s ruminations on exchange M&A in full.