For Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., the benefits of expanding into electronic bond trading justify the risk of a lower credit rating.

The second-biggest operator of American equity exchanges agreed yesterday to acquire eSpeed, a platform for U.S. Treasuries, from BGC Partners Inc. for $750 million cash, or $1.2 billion should sales goals be met. Moody's Investors Service said Nasdaq's Baa3 senior rating may be cut following the deal.

Robert Greifeld, Nasdaq's chief executive officer, is joining other exchange executives using takeovers to boost profit amid declines in stock trading. Even if Moody's takes action, Nasdaq is less vulnerable than rivals CME Group Inc. and InterContinental Exchange Inc., which depend on higher credit ratings for their businesses of guaranteeing trades.

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