NASDAQ targets Europe By Mike Ward
& Steve Edelson
Staff Writers

The turf battle to capture the hearts and minds of European capital stepped up a gear last Friday when the National Association of Securities Dealers announced plans to create a pan-European platform for IPOs, while its EASDAQ clone countered by unveiling details of new dual listing and trading facilities.

NASD said Nasdaq-Europe will offer European investors an Internet-accessible, high-performance, low-cost trading platform linked to Nasdaq markets in the U.S. and Asia. NASD has established a joint venture with Softbank Corp. of Japan, News Corp.'s e-partners venture capital fund, and Viventures Capital venture fund, to capitalize the pan-European market, which is scheduled to begin operating in the fourth quarter of 2000.

NASD is positioning Nasdaq-Europe as a liquid growth market providing European investors with a platform to invest in IPOs from across Europe, plus access to U.S. and Asian blue chip stocks, and exchange-traded fund and index products.

EASDAQ, which counts NASD as one of its shareholders, believes that it will be able to offer very much the same facilities but in a shorter time frame. The exchange announced on Friday that companies already listed on a regulated market in Europe, Israel or the U.S. can immediately apply for a free dual listing on EASDAQ without having to prepare a new prospectus, providing that they are not raising additional capital at the time of listing.

Moreover, EASDAQ recognized that it could make more of its trading infrastructure, including clearing and settlements, single membership and a single rule book, by allowing others to use it. By Jan. 3, investors will be able to trade any stock already listed on regulated European, Israeli or U.S. markets that is made available by an EASDAQ market maker.

"This will dramatically increase the numbers of companies that investors can trade efficiently, said spokesperson Lauren Ptito. "Market makers are able to nominate stocks for this facility with immediate effect, providing no capital is being raised."

Handcuffed NicOx (NM:Nicox) made good on its IPO on the Nouveau Marche last week, raising