LONDON (Reuters) - Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ.O) has bought a Nordic clearing house in the latest move by the transatlantic exchange group to expand its operations in Europe.
Nasdaq, which said last month it was building a European futures exchange, said on Monday it had acquired NOS Clearing ASA, a commodities clearing house based in Norway, for an undisclosed sum.
Clearing houses sit between trading counterparties, protecting firms from losses in the event that one fails, like Lehman Brothers in 2008 and MF Global in 2011.
They were largely overlooked until Lehman's default highlighted systemic risks that regulators have sought to address by forcing more markets to use clearing.
Nasdaq, which is based in New York, wants to grow its business in Europe and last month said it will launch a European futures exchange early next year in a direct challenge to rivals NYSE Euronext NYX.N and Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE).
The group said it will set up NLX, a London trading venue offering listed derivatives contracts and backed by European clearing house LCH.Clearnet.
"NOS Clearing ASA fits perfectly into our strategy to grow internationally within the energy space," Geir Reigstad, head of Nasdaq OMX Commodities, said on Monday.
Nasdaq's hometown rival NYSE Euronext also wants to expand its European clearing interests and gave formal notice to its supplier LCH.Clearnet that it will start clearing itself from June next year.
Editing by Dan Lalor