ATHEX bid for Slovenia bourse

LJUBLJANA – Four bidders are still in the race for 64.15 percent of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange, the company representing the owners said yesterday. «We chose the four best bidders, who will receive more information on the bourse and will be invited to submit binding bids,» Andrej Zejn, managing director of Arkas, told Reuters. He declined to reveal the names of the bidders but said they will probably be asked to submit binding bids in the second half of March. The Athens and Warsaw stock exchanges said earlier this month they had submitted non-binding bids by the February 8 deadline, while a group of seven Slovenian companies, which includes mostly financial firms, also said it had placed a bid. According to local media reports, Euronext, Nordic exchange operator OMX and exchanges in Vienna and Milan have also shown interest in buying eurozone member Slovenia’s only stock market. About a year ago, bourse owners rejected a bid by OMX, which offered -125.19 per share, valuing the exchange at -4.2 million. According to local media, current bids are expected to be significantly above that and could reach some -700 per share. Zejn gave no price details but said the bids were much higher than the OMX bid of last year. He said the two best bidders, who will be selected after submitting binding bids, will be able to perform due diligence of the bourse and added the sale was expected to be completed by the end of June at the latest. «I would be very surprised if any of the four chosen bidders would decide not to submit a binding bid,» he added. The exchange is owned mostly by local banks and brokerages and has 187 securities listed with a total market capitalization of some -25 billion.