The tech-heavy Nasdaq exchange is looking to expand into the options-trading market, and it's in talks with the Philadelphia Stock Exchange about a possible merger. Nasdaq's bid to buy the third-largest options trading exchange, valued at up to $300 million, comes as a number of bigger exchanges are on the hunt for smaller aquisitions, reports the Wall Street Journal.
If the bid fails, Nasdaq, which pioneered electronic securities trading, may decide to create its own options trading business. Nasdaq recently failed in an attempt to buy the London Stock Exchange. The Philly purchase would give it a foothold in one of tradings hottest markets. More than 228 million options contracts changed hands last month, a 39% increase over March 2006.