IntercontinentalExchange's (NYSE: ICE ) impending acquisition of NYSE Euronext (UNKNOWN: NYX.DL ) doesn't pose enough of a threat to competition to warrant concern, at least according to the European Commission. As a result, the European Union's executive branch has approved the proposed transaction, saying that it does not "raise competition concerns as NYX and ICE are not direct competitors in the markets concerned and would continue to face competition from a number of other competitors."
Both companies professed happiness at the ruling in separate press releases. IntercontinentalExchange quoted Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher as saying that "we welcome the decision by the European Commission."
NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer opined that "this is obviously a significant step forward in completing our compelling combination, and we now look forward to working with our regulators to obtain the final approvals necessary to close the transaction."
The deal is still subject to final approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission and other national financial regulatory bodies.