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Borse Dubai is the leading candidate to acquire the Nasdaq's 30% stake in the London Stock Exchange, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The details of Borse's bid were not known, and it is still possible that rival bidder Gulf State Qatar could sweeten its offer for the stake. The market value of the LSE shares is about $1.8 billion. It is believed Nasdaq will use the money from the sale to better its bid for the Nordic exchange operator OMX. The Nasdaq offered $3.8 billion in cash and stock for OMX in May, but was trumped by an all-cash $4 billion bid by Borse Dubai (full story). Since then, both entities have been trying to convince OMX shareholders that each of their bids is superior. Changing strategies and grabbing a large stakein the LSE may reflect Borse Dubai's concern that it could not get the required Swedish government approval for the OMX takeover, or that its bid could not compare to the Nasdaq's because of the potential synergies between the two exchanges. Both OMX and Nasdaq stock were halted late Wednesday because of pending news. Before this, Nasdaq shares traded up 1.38% to $36.02.

Sources: WSJ, TheStreet.com
Commentary: Nasdaq Sets Deadline For LSE Bidders -- WSJNasdaq and Borse Dubai May Form Joint Bid for OMX -- Daily TelegraphNasdaq OMX Bid Aided by Swedish Politics
Stocks/ETFs to watch: NDAQ. Competitors: CME, NMX. ETFs: EXB
Earnings call transcript: The Nasdaq Stock Market Q2 2007

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