ICE: Mergers an unintended consequence of reforms

By Jonathan Spicer

"It's an unintended consequence, and not necessarily a positive consequence," Jeffrey Sprecher told a Futures Industry Association conference here.

In a flurry last month, Deutsche Boerse AG <DB1Gn.DE> bid for NYSE Euronext <NYX.N>, London Stock Exchange <LSE.L> offered to buy Toronto Stock Exchange parent TMX Group Inc <X.TO> and BATS Global Markets bid for fellow private venue operator Chi-X Europe.

Late last year, Singapore Exchange bid for Australia's ASX Ltd <ASX.AX>, reviving an industry consolidation wave that had subsided for several years. For more, see:

Lawmakers and regulators globally are revamping financial markets, including forcing much of the vast over-the-counter derivatives market through exchanges and similar venues, as well as clearinghouses.

"Exchanges are making the logical moves to get scale and run the business," Sprecher later told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

ICE, a futures-oriented exchange and clearinghouse operator, could team with Nasdaq OMX Group <NDAQ.O> to make a counter-bid for NYSE Euronext, sources familiar with the situation said this week.

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by James Dalgleish and Dan Grebler)