LONDON - Nasdaq Stock Market is considering making a hostile bid for the London Stock Exchange, in which it has amassed a stake of over 25 per cent, weekly UK newspaper The Observer said on Sunday, without citing any sources.

The US exchange made an initial US$4.2 billion takeover offer in March but was rebuffed by the LSE, which it considers the "crown jewel" of European equities markets.

Nasdaq declined to comment on Sunday's report. No one at the LSE was immediately available to comment.

The LSE, Europe's biggest stock market and a long-time bid target, said in July it would oppose any deal that weakened London as a financial centre.

Under British takeover rules Nasdaq must wait six months from the time of the last bid before making any fresh approach. A source familiar with the situation said it was unlikely to go straight into launching a hostile bid.

"Given they have a 25 per cent stake in the LSE I would have thought some form of dialogue would be more appropriate than an outright hostile bid at this stage in the proceedings," the source said.

Financial markets have been swept by a wave of consolidation as they look to cut costs in an increasingly competitive and commoditized environment.

Earlier this year NYSE Group sealed an agreement to buy the pan-European exchange Euronext for US$10 billion.

- REUTERS