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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 21/09/2007

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) In an extraordinary turn of events Borse Dubai has thrust itself to the forefront to emerge as a global exchange platform as well as a strategic shareholder in two of the world's most preeminent stock exchanges namely Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange (LSE). It also neatly sidesteps any lingering if unfounded questions concerning suitability of ownership.

The complex deal effectively slams the door shut on Qatar's ambitions to be a regional rival to Borse Dubai although it remains to be seen how Qatar's last minute acquisition of a 20 per cent stake in LSE will sit alongside that of Borse Dubai's 28 per cent. Questions once raised about the viability of Dubai International Financial Centre now seem more pertinent to Qatar Financial Centre unless it decides to mount a rival bid for OMX. Whilst a possibility it must not dilute focus on its highly leveraged bid for J. Sainsbury. Equally in being able to rebrand DIFX as a Nasdaq exchange is surely to attract listings not simply for the name but also for the access to leading edge technology that Borse Dubai so craved in its bid for OMX.

If that were not enough it simultaneously provides a gateway to a pool of regional liquidity. Borse Dubai has now sounded a wake up call to other exchanges most notably Singapore, who are preoccupied with changes to trading patterns and growing consolidation in the sector.

However the deal is not all plain sailing and is subject to regulatory approval across a number of jurisdictions. Of these the US looks again as though it maybe the most reluctant partner in an eerily reminiscent foreshadow of DP World's bitter experience. Democrat Senator Charles Schumer one of the principal architects of the opposition to last year's ports deal has already expressed concerns. As has previously been cited it is acutely important that Borse Dubai is able to counteract the powerful lobby that is sure to emerge.

By placing some of the Nasdaq shareholding in trust seems designed to preempt any regulatory or political concerns that may be raised.

The deal is a coup for Borse Dubai and demonstrates one more time Dubai's remarkable commercial prowess.


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