Nasdaq's profit up 70 percent, amid buyout battle

Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nasdaq OMX Group's quarterly profit rose 70 percent, as the exchange operator battling to buy out crosstown rival NYSE was helped by robust European and derivatives trading.

Excluding one-time items, the profit was 61 cents per share, matching the average analyst estimate, as compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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Revenue rose 15 percent to $415 million, better than the $409 million expected by analysts. Costs rose 12 percent from last year, offset by a 26 percent rise in trading-based revenue.

Nasdaq this month joined with IntercontinentalExchange to bid for Big Board parent NYSE Euronext , which earlier this year agreed to be acquired by Germany's Deutsche Boerse AG .

Though NYSE's board rejected the higher offer from Nasdaq and ICE, the pair sweetened the bid on Tuesday with a promise to pay NYSE Euronext $350 million if regulators block their takeover plan -- a move meant to ease the board's antitrust worries, and to draw them to the negotiating table.

The U.S.-based, transatlantic company earned $104 million, or 57 cents per share in the first quarter, up 70 percent from $61 million, or 28 cents, a year ago.

The company expects between $895 million and $915 million in operating expenses in 2011, in line with most analysts' projections.

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Derek Caney)