Sources close to Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ) say officials there are seriously discussing making a tender offer to buy the NYSE (NYX) within the next two weeks, and possibly within a week, thus taking their joint bid directly to shareholders of the Big Board.
The situation could change, of course, if the NYSE reverses course and formally considers the joint bid from Nasdaq and the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), as some shareholders want, or if the Justice Department issues a statement that raises serious antitrust concerns and kills the bid altogether.
Barring that, officials at Nasdaq believe there's "nothing left to do" given NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer's continued rejection of the bid despite its 20% premium to the one offered by the Deutsche Boerse that Niederauer says is a superior deal, according to a person close to the matter. Despite the feeling among some shareholders that the bid for the NYSE from Deutsche Boerse undervalues the company, Niederauer has stood by the offer from the European exchange.
FOX Business reported Tuesday that the tender offer discussions were underway and the Nasdaq/ICE would make the offer sometime after Thursday's shareholder meeting.
Niederauer and NYSE board members attempted to sell skeptical shareholders on the merits of the Deutsche Boerse deal Thursday at the Big Board's annual meeting. The DB offer is $1.4 billion less than the Nasdaq bid, but likely has a better chance to be approved by regulators.
“I understand investors' concern about the perceived value gap in the deal. We need to spend time now until July 7 to convince them of the value of the deal to close that gap,” Niederauer said at the meeting.