Going, going, going fast….
THE United Arab Emirates and Qatar are set to own nearly half of the London Stock Exchange, a source close to the matter said today.
The two Gulf states have agreed to buy a combined “48 per cent” of the prestigious London market in separate deals, the source said.
The news propels the Middle Eastern countries into the heart of European financial markets.
The state-linked Qatari Investment Authority said it had bought a 20 per cent slice of the LSE, which is Europe’s oldest stock exchange.
According to the source, the shares were sold by American investors – but not the US Nasdaq stock market.
Earlier, UAE group Borse Dubai agreed to buy a 28 per cent LSE holding from the US Nasdaq stock market as part of a deal to jointly take over Nordic operator OMX.
The LSE did not comment on the Nasdaq sale, but welcomed the purchase by Qatar.
“The board of the Exchange is very happy to welcome the QIA as a long term investor in the company,” the LSE said.
The US-based Nasdaq, which was the LSE’s biggest shareholder with a 31 per cent holding, said last month that it wanted to sell up after a failed hostile takeover attempt.
“Qatar Investment Authority today announces that its wholly owned subsidiary, Qatar Holding, has purchased a 20 per cent stake in the London Stock Exchange,” the QIA said in an official statement.
No financial details of the transaction were given and the QIA stressed that it had no takeover plans.
“Neither QIA nor Qatar Holding currently intends to make an offer for the LSE but reserves its position in the event that a third party announces a firm intention to make an offer,” the statement continued.
Qatar, like its neighbouring emirate, Dubai, is seeking to become the Middle East’s centre of global trading. Both emirates have an independent market regulator.
In Stockholm today, Nasdaq and Borse Dubai reached a complex agreement to jointly take over Nordic market operator OMX, with Borse Dubai taking 19.99 per cent of Nasdaq.
The groups said Borse Dubai, created less than two months ago, would follow through on its previously announced 230 kronor a share offer for OMX worth 2.94 billion euros ($4.81 billion).
The Nasdaq would then acquire all of Borse Dubai’s OMX shares.
Under the terms of the deal, Dubai will acquire almost one third of the LSE, while Nasdaq will become a strategic shareholder in the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX).
The announcement ended intense speculation over the fate of OMX, with Nasdaq and Borse Dubai both courting the group in recent months.
The Qatar Investment Authority also announced today that it had bought 9.98 per cent of OMX, adding in a statement that the purchase was “a key step in the QIA’s ambitions to take supportive holdings in the European exchange infrastructure.”
OMX operates the stock markets of Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Reykjavik, Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius.
Sheikdom shakedown: Dubai moves on Nasdaq
By Jerome R. Corsi
Â© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
In a complex set of transactions, Dubai is moving to acquire 19.9 percent of the Nasdaq in New York, placing the Arab government in an ownership position of the key U.S. stock exchange and raising concerns in Congress.
WASHINGTON (AP) â€” The Bush administration’s proposed multibillion-dollar weapons sale to Saudi Arabia brought new allegations on Capitol Hill Tuesday that the monarchy has been lax in countering terrorism.
by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph:
Saudi Arabia has refused to cut interest rates in lockstep with the US Federal Reserve for the first time, signalling that the oil-rich Gulf kingdom is preparing to break the dollar currency peg in a move that risks setting off a stampede out of the dollar across the Middle East.
“This is a very dangerous situation for the dollar,” said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas.
“Saudi Arabia has $800bn (Â£400bn) in their future generation fund, and the entire region has $3,500bn under management. They face an inflationary threat and do not want to import an interest rate policy set for the recessionary conditions in the United States,” he said.
The Saudi central bank said today that it would take “appropriate measures” to halt huge capital inflows into the country, but analysts say this policy is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to the collapse of the dollar peg.
As a close ally of the US, Riyadh has so far tried to stick to the peg, but the link is now destabilising its own economy.