NYSE and Euronext: Dare We Dream?

I'll admit right off the bat that my interest in the NYSE Group (NYSE: NYX  ) -Euronext merger is probably a little different from most people's. Sure, the deal creates a more powerful trading platform for institutional investors, and perhaps a better company for shareholders. But as a longtime international investor (and editor of our recent Around the World in 80 Minutes international stock report), I'm curious about what this deal can do for me as an investor.

First, let's get through the major points of the merger.While the combination of these two securities-market operators is being billed as a merger of equals, some are a little more equal than others. Each NYSE shareholder will get one share of the combined company, but Euronext shareholders will get 0.98 shares and a bit less than $27.50 in cash, as well as a mix/match option to take it all in stock or cash. Furthermore, NYSE Group will name 11 members to the new 20-person board of the combined company, with Euronext naming the other nine.

Once the merger is done, the local markets will still be under the jurisdiction of local market authorities, and the stocks will be dual-listed in the U.S. and Europe. If early word proves true, we might be looking at a common technology platform in three years and a 12-hour open window of trading each day. Certainly, then, this is a shot across the bow for Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ  ) , the London Stock Exchange, and Deutsche Borse.

However, I'm waiting to see whether this will speed the process toward making more international investing options available to the regular shareholder. Sure, you can buy stocks such as Air Liquide, Heineken, or LVMH through Pink Sheet ADR listings, but finding quotes and information on those companies can be challenging, and not all brokers will handle the trades. While I realize that a disturbingly high number of people don't invest at all, let alone in individual stocks, I'm a big fan of having as many investing options at my fingertips as possible.

Time will tell how greatly this deal the world's investment options more accessible to you and me. (They're already plenty accessible to the professional and institutional world.) But it at least seems to be a positive step forward.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).


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