ICE and Nasdaq subjects of bogus UK company filings

Bogus UK companies have been set up up in the names of ICE and Nasdaq, the two exchange groups that have been linked with potential counterbids for the London Stock Exchange.

Nasdaq, Times Square

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Companies purporting to be subsidiaries of both US firms were set up in the UK in the wake of the February 23 announcement that the LSE was planning a merger of equals with Deutsche Börse.

However, representatives of both US exchange firms have said the filings are fake and are being investigated.

A spokesman from Companies House said there was no way of knowing who made the filings, which have both been authenticated electronically. “The obligation to ensure information is accurate lies with the company,” Companies House said in a statement.

On February 23, a company named Nasdaq Inc. Ltd was registered in the UK. It lists 11 purported directors including Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld, its president and chief operating officer, Adena Friedman, and vice chairmen Bruce Aust and Meyer Frucher.

A Nasdaq spokesman confirmed the filing under its name was fake and said its legal team was seeking to have it removed.

On March 2, a company called Bolsa de Valores Nova York Ltd – Spanish for New York Stock Exchange, which Intercontinental Exchange owns – was registered with the UK’s Companies House with director names purporting to include Jeffrey Sprecher, ICE chairman and CEO.

The ICE filing is also fabricated, according a spokeswoman for the group. The exchange is looking into the matter.

Although appearing authentic, some errors have crept in. The company purporting to be set up by ICE gives the wrong date of birth for CEO Sprecher and a mistake in the address of ICE’s headquarters in Atlanta.

Financial News has been unable to clarify whether both filings were made by the same individual or firms or their identity.

The filings come with the LSE and Deutsche Börse in talks over a merger of equals, with a formal agreement required under UK takeover law by March 22. The LSE and Deutsche Börse have already filed their own, genuine, legal entities in the UK and the Netherlands.

Companies House has a due diligence scheme called Proof. If an entity has been registered via this online system, any future filings made under the same name will require approval from the entity in question.

Both ICE and Nasdaq have numerous UK-registered entities covering their businesses in the region, but none of them share a name with the bogus companies.

ICE’s fake filing was made the day after the exchange announced that is was considering a counter-bid for the LSE. Analysts at Credit Suisse have said that Nasdaq could team up with another group to bid for the LSE, though this now seems unlikely given the announcement of Nasdaq’s deal to buy the options exchange ISE – owned by Deutsche Börse – on March 10.

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