June 6, 2017 / 1:53 PM / a year ago

Bourses say big bang mergers sidelined by 'quiet' hunt for content

LONDON (Reuters) - The collapse of Deutsche Boerse and London Stock Exchange’s attempt to create a superbourse has left exchanges focusing on low key, incremental acquisitions, top bourse officials said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: The German share prize index (DAX) board and the trading room of Frankfurt's stock exchange (Boerse Frankfurt) are photographed with a circular fisheye lens during afternoon trading session in Frankfurt, Germany, February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

The third attempt to link up London and Frankfurt ended in March after it faced opposition from European Union competition regulators, and from German officials who opposed the head office being based in Britain.

The collapse has left exchanges looking at smaller or “quiet advances” in mergers and acquisitions, such as in financial technology, data and other content, Deutsche Boerse Chief Executive Carsten Kengeter told an IDX derivatives conference.

Carsten Kengeter, CEO of Deutsche Boerse attends the initial public offering of Scale at the Frankfurt stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Kengeter said the political mood was becoming more national, going against the grain of global capital markets, and rival CME Group (CME.O) also suggested incremental rather than “big bang” moves.

CME president Bryan Durkin said the Chicago based exchange would continue to build up its services to Europe from the United States after deciding to shut its London based clearing and trading platforms.

“Europe is quite big in terms of the opportunities is presents for us,” Durkin said.

“Our focus is very much on building up the very solid footprint that we have established here and taking it to the next level on an international perspective.”

Jeff Sprecher, chairman and chief executive of the Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange (ICE.N) said it has been “quietly expanding” to become a “network and content” business.

ICE, which also operates the New York Stock Exchange, said on June 1 it planned to buy the global research index platform from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“We have increasingly thought of our business as essentially a network business that needs to continually to grow with content that needs to be relevant,” Sprecher said.

ICE’s purchase came just days after the London Stock Exchange said it was buying Citibank’s (C.N) Yield Book fixed-income analytics services and its related indexing business for $685 million.

Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Louise Heavens

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