NYSE board rejects sweetened bid from Nasdaq, ICE

NYSE Euronext directors on Thursday rejected a sweetened takeover offer from Nasdaq OMX Group and IntercontinentalExchange, the second time in 11 days the board unanimously backed a lower bid from Germany's Deutsche Boerse AG.

This week's revised bid "is substantially the same as what was previously rejected," NYSE Euronext Chairman Jan-Michiel Hessels said in a statement.

In very similar language to the board's original rejection on April 10, Hessels said the Nasdaq/ICE plan "does not provide compelling value, has unacceptable execution risk and is therefore not in the best interests of NYSE Euronext shareholders."

The board reaffirmed its support for a friendly $9.8 billion takeover offer from Deutsche Boerse AG.

On April 1, Nasdaq and ICE bid $11.1 billion for the New York Stock Exchange parent company. On Tuesday, they stepped up the bid with a promise to pay NYSE Euronext $350 million if regulators blocked a merger -- a pledge meant to ease the board's antitrust worries and draw them to the negotiating table.

The battle for the Big Board has grown increasingly bitter. Its outcome could revamp ownership of many of the largest market operators in Europe and the United States.

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