Where the exchange has no name

Feb 15, 2011

What’s in a name? Nothing, in the curious case of the $10 billion exchange megadeal unveiled Tuesday.

Frankfurt’s Deutsche Boerse will acquire NYSE Euronext (nyx) in a deal that will give the German exchange’s shareholders 60% of the combined company and 10 of 17 board seats. The new company will have headquarters in both New York and Frankfurt, and the exchanges will continue to operate under their own names in their home countries.

 So what doesn’t this new entity have? A name.

 The companies’ press release says only that the merger will create “the premier global exchange group.” The companies mean that as an assertion of their strong competitive position, not as an actual name – though come to think of it, “Premier Global Exchange Group” does sound like the kind of generic name the flacks might come up with, if not for the fact that the NYSE is sort of a household name in these parts.

Given the fact that the Germans are doing the buying, you’d assume the company might be named DB NYSE, as sources told Reuters yesterday. But Sen. Charles Schumer has been insisting the NYSE come first as a condition of letting the deal go through. The NYSE didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

"The name of the new company will be a critical factor in determining support for this merger, both in the regulatory review process as well as in the court of public opinion," Schumer said Sunday. "It should be resolved sooner rather than later."

Maybe sooner, but not soon enough for the merger’s announcement. Premier exchange or not, this is not an auspicious start.

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