The Swedish government said on Thursday it had agreed to sell its 6.6-per cent share in the Nordic and Baltic stock exchange operator OMX to Emirates-based Borse Dubai, and subsequently to Nasdaq.
Borse Dubai's proposed cash offer of 265 kronor ($41.52; Dh151.55) per share, made jointly with the US high-tech exchange Nasdaq, values OMX at about 32 billion kronor ($4.9 billion; Dh17.89 billion).
"I am very pleased that Borse Dubai and Nasdaq have recognised the potential of Stockholm as a financial hub and the importance of the Nordic securities market," Swedish Financial Markets Minister Mats Odell said in a statement.
"Just as importantly, this combination improves opportunities for listed companies and individual investors," he said, adding that the Swedish state would receive 2.1 billion kronor ($329 million; Dh1.2 billion) through the sale.
The decision came as no surprise after several regulatory bodies had already cleared the way for the deal and following a ruling by the Swedish parliament last June that the government could sell a long line of public holdings, including in Absolut vodka owner Vin & Sprit, the Nordea banking group and OMX.
The exchange operator is today mainly controlled by Swedish industrial holding company Investor, which owns a 10.7-per cent stake, and the Qatar investment authority QIA, which holds a 10-per cent share of the company.
Once Borse Dubai owns at least 67 per cent of the shares of OMX, it has agreed to transfer all the stock it owns to Nasdaq. At the same time, Borse Dubai will make a minority investment in Nasdaq which in turn will take a minority holding in Dubai International Financial Exchange.
Borse Dubai is the holding company for Dubai International Financial Exchange and Dubai Financial Market, while OMX operates exchanges in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Reykjavik, Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius.
Following Thursday's announcement, OMX's stock price was unchanged at 263.50 kronor ($41.34; Dh150.89) on the Stockholm stock exchange, which as a whole was down 1.01 per cent. (AFP)