The merger of the New York Stock Exchange and Euronext could lead to a new market in London to compete with the London Stock Exchange, it emerged yesterday.
NYSE chief executive John Thain said it would consider creating a new exchange in London if the acquisition of Paris-based Euronext did not deliver enough international share listings.
Mr Thain also said the NYSE might consider acquiring the LSE, in which US rival Nasdaq already owns a 25.1 per cent stake and is favourite in the takeover race.
According to one report, Mr Thain said there were two options if the combined NYSE Euronext bourse could not compete for international listings.
He said the first would be "to set up our own exchange in London" and, referring to a bid for the LSE, he added: "I won't rule out the other option either."
The combined NYSE Euronext group would be the biggest stock market in the world with a total value of listed companies of almost £15 trillion.
It would create the world's first transatlantic bourse with Euronext operating exchanges in Paris, Brussels, Lisbon and Amsterdam, as well as the London-based Liffe international derivatives exchange.
Mr Thain expects a combined NYSE Euronext to be a formidable competitor to the LSE which has secured a large number of international listings from companies based in fast-growing economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.
The NYSE has had difficulties in attracting foreign firms to list in the US because of increased regulations after Enron.
Stock exchanges around the world are pushing for consolidation as competition for business increases with the expansion of electronic trading.
It has put the LSE at the centre of frenzied takeover talk, with both the NYSE and Euronext showing interest.
Deutsche Boerse and Australian bank Macquarie have also expressed interest but many in the City now believe that Nasdaq will become the LSE's likely partner.
The speculation and continued approaches drove the LSE's share price to all-time highs.