Borse Dubai still holds aces over London stake
Still on Borse Dubai, yesterday’s news that chairman Essa Kazim would “consider” an offer for its stake in the London Stock Exchange should not be regarded as the end of the convoluted choreography with Qatar over the LSE.
Kazim was quick to point out that no deal was being negotiated at the moment, he had not been asked to sell the shareholding, and he was happy with the performance of the LSE since Dubai grabbed its shareholding last summer. Just as relevant was the statement of Borse Dubai vice-chairman Soud Ba’alawy that “selling LSE shares is not on our short-term horizon”.
Both men agreed a deal over the LSE stakes – Dubai has 20 per cent, Qatar some 14 per cent – had not been a pre-condition for the deal last week that saw Qatar sell its remaining stake in Swedish operator OMX to Dubai.
Nonetheless, there was a difference in tone that was significant. World financial conditions were not as volatile when Dubai bought the LSE stake; Dubai has an imminent deadline to raise the full cost of the OMX purchase; HSBC has called in other major financial organisations to help it put up the full $4.9 billion for OMX.
But Borse Dubai is right not to be hurried. It has a strong bargaining position with the 20 per cent holding, and an LSE deal remains a prize, to complement the Nasdaq/DIFX alliance.
Kazim and Ba’alawy can afford to play a waiting game – not least, to persuade LSE that they are responsible, long-term allies.
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