Atlanta’s ICE may be frozen out of play for London Stock Exchange

The Atlanta company that operates the New York Stock Exchange may be left out in the cold despite its recent talk of a possible offer to buy the London Stock Exchange.

The London trading exchange instead reached a $30 billion all-stock deal Wednesday to merge with the Germany-based Deutsche Boerse, according to media reports.

That deal would create one of the world’s largest securities markets, and continue a long-running rivalry among the investment exchange operators in the U.S. and Europe.

Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange, better known as ICE, announced its interest in buying the London Stock Exchange shortly after the German and British exchanges disclosed that they were in merger talks.

ICE, which owns the New York Stock Exchange and several other trading exchanges, is already the world’s largest market exchange operator in terms of revenue. A deal to buy the London exchange likely would face heavy scrutiny by regulators in Europe.

However, under British takeover rules, ICE recently said it has until March 29 to make an offer for the London market or declare that it is not interested.

The latest deal is the third attempt since 2000 to combine the German and British stock exchanges, according to the New York Times.

A 2011 effort by Deutsche Boerse to take over NYSE Euronext fell apart after European antitrust regulators threatened to block it. ICE later acquired the New York exchange and spun off Euronext in an initial public offering.

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