The announcement came after months of negotiation between the two parties in which NYSE Euronext rejected two separate offers from the bidders citing regulatory and subsequent debt levels of the new post-merger business operations.
Nasdaq Chief executive, Robert Greifeld, said this in the announcement,
“We took the decision to withdraw our offer when it became clear that we would not be successful in securing regulatory approval for our proposal despite offering a variety of substantial remedies”.
"Substantial remedies" included agreeing to sell off certain businesses and separation of financial activities into independent agencies. The latter would be saddled with high debt levels as a result of the merger. NYSE Euronext chairman, Jan-Michiel Hessels, expressed his concerns of the debt levels in a statement in April, "Breaking up NYSE Euronext, burdening the pieces with high levels of debt and destroying its invaluable human capital would be a strategic mistake in terms of where the global markets are going, and is clearly not in the best interests of our shareholders".
The withdrawal of the Nasdaq ICE from the bidding process allows the NYSE Euronext to move forward with the Deutsche Boerse merger which still awaits both regulatory and shareholder approval in the United States.