After throwing down a cup of coffee and a salty pretzel, Deutsche Börse Chief Executive Carsten Kengeter stepped before a hungry press Wednesday to launch a new initiative at a stylish office space in Frankfurt aimed at attracting financial technology startups.
“We want our initiative to create a suitable environment for fin-tech companies in Frankfurt. Our contribution is embedded in the concept of the state’s fin-tech initiative,” the Deutsche Börse boss said in prepared remarks.
But Mr. Kengeter’s presentation of the incubator and how it fits in with a broader financial technology initiative of the state of Hesse – where Frankfurt is located – fell upon largely deaf ears.
The problem was one of timing. The event came just one day after Deutsche Börse and the London Stock Exchange confirmed they were discussing a “merger of equals” that could create the world’s second-largest stock exchange operator.
Mr. Kengeter will become the chief executive of the new combined firm, Handelsblatt has learned, but first he has to get the merger passed regulatory authorities and politicians.
Easily overshadowing Wednesday’s incubator launch, the third tie-up attempt over the past two decades for Europe’s two leading exchange operators is anything but certain. Even if their derivatives and equity trading arms seem like perfect fits, the merger path is strewn with many of the same political and regulatory hurdles that obstructed their prior merger bids.