|* Euronext’s managers and shareholders weighed rival bids for the company, which runs stock markets across Europe and a derivatives exchange in London. The managers endorsed an offer from the New York Stock Exchange in preference to the Deutsche Börse, another big European exchange. The shareholders remained non-committal, hoping for sweetened offers. |
* Bank of China, China’s second-largest bank, raised $9.7 billion from its initial public offering, the biggest in the country’s short experience of financial markets. If demand is strong enough, the bank may offer more shares, to raise another $1.5 billion. In London, however, two other listings were postponed amid the markets’ jitters. Bertelsmann agreed to pay €4.5 billion ($5.75 billion) for a 25.1 percent stake owned by Groupe Bruxelles Lambert. The Belgian investment house had threatened to list its holding in the German media group. Rosneft, an oil company the Russian government wants to sell, reported profits of $4.2 billion for 2005. Its revenues flowed largely from its Yuganskneftegaz production arm, which belonged to Yukos, a private company dismembered by the tax authorities. OMV, central Europe’s biggest oil and gas company, caved in to political resistance over its proposed merger with Verbund, Austria’s largest electricity supplier. The sale of the company, controlled by the government, would not have been “meaningful and just” (i.e., politically palatable), said Austria’s economics minister.
* Babcock & Brown, an Australian investment company, agreed to buy Eircom, Ireland’s biggest telecoms company, for $3.1 billion. The Australians will be the former state monopoly’s fifth owner since it was privatized in 1999. Valcon Acquisition, a group of six private-equity companies, triumphed at last in its three-month campaign to buy VNU, a Dutch market-research company. Valcon said it now has 78.7 percent of the company’s shares, and gave remaining shareholders until June 9 to sell the rest.