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Allen & Overy and Wachtell take leads on Deutsche Börse spin-off

Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy (A&O) has taken a lead role acting for Deutsche Börse as it spins off its US options exchange operator International Securities Exchange, in a move which looks to aid the German stock exchange operator’s proposed merger with the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

A&O is acting opposite Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz on the sale of International Securities Exchange to Wachtell client Nasdaq for more than $1.1bn.

A&O’s team is led by New York M&A partner Peter Harwich, with support from Frankfurt partner Hartmut Krause. Other specialist members from the firm’s New York office include tax partner Jack Heinberg and Elaine Johnston from the firm’s antitrust team.

The firm has advised Deutsche Börse in the past, with Krause leading A&O’s advice to the stock exchange operator when it signed a landmark agreement between Germany and China to create the first dedicated platform for yuan-denominated trading outside China back in November last year.

Wachtell’s advice for US operator Nasdaq was led by corporate partner David Lam. NASDAQ was advised by Jones Day on regulatory aspects of the transaction.

Deutsche Börse is currently engaged in merger discussions with the LSE, in the third attempt of the rivals to merge. On this transaction the German stock exchange operator is being advised by Linklaters corporate partner Roger Barron.

LSE has engaged Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, whose team is led by partners Andrew Hutchings, Mark Rawlinson and London M&A co-head Piers Prichard Jones.

The London and Frankfurt exchanges said they were in ‘detailed discussions about a potential merger of equals’, which if it goes ahead, will create a European trading powerhouse under a new holding company that would give Deutsche Börse shareholders a 54.4% stake and LSE shareholders 45.6%.