NYSE Group ( NYX) won't be resting on its laurels anytime soon, thanks. Now that the parent of the New York Stock Exchange has virtually sealed a deal to acquire Europe's Euronext, the Big Board has set its sights on a big exchange in Asia. The NYSE agreed Wednesday to
take a 5% stake in the National Stock Exchange of India for $115 million in cash. Though the stake is a small one -- 5% is the maximum allowance for foreign investments under India's laws -- it advances the NYSE agenda of becoming a global cash equities exchange. The NYSE is expected to close on its $14 billion deal for Euronext in March, creating the largest trans-Atlantic exchange. The stake in the NSE "complements our global growth strategy," says NYSE CEO John Thain. "Through a mutually beneficial partnership, the NSE and NYSE Group, and the futures NYSE Euronext will extend our global reach, strengthen relationships with customers and advance our competitive position in India and throughout the region." Asia has clearly been on Thain's mind. He has previously said that NYSE was in preliminary talks with the Tokyo Stock Exchange to discuss joint venture options. Goldman Sachs ( GS) and two private-equity firms, General Atlantic and Softbank Asian Infrastructure Fund, also have bought 5% stakes in the Mumbai-based exchange, the NSE said.