NYSE Euronext outlined bold plans on Friday to grow its business through investment in clearing and technology services after regulators nixed the sale of the U.S. exchange to Deutsche Boerse .

Duncan Niederauer, the chief executive of NYSE, also said mergers and acquisitions were not out of the question after a $7.4 billion (4.6 billion pound) takeover by the German exchange was scuppered last week, adding he was very interested in European clearing house LCH.Clearnet.

He said the firm would continue to invest in clearing and technology services, after reporting these areas drove quarterly profits up 13 percent to $212 million.

There are a lot of near term opportunities in clearing and technology that are getting us pretty excited about 2012, Niderauer told a press conference.

The chief executive said the firm would look to expand its fledgling U.S. clearing business and build a full service UK-based clearing house for listed and over-the-counter derivatives.

It is the right time to work with our customers to develop competitive clearing solutions to meet their needs, he said.

The former Goldman Sachs partner was also bullish about the prospects for the exchange's technology division, which supplies computer systems to clients and other exchanges.

NYSE Technologies will be a significant contributor to future growth as we aim to become the facilitator and enabler of the capital markets community, he said.

Niederauer said last week that five of NYSE Euronext's past six acquisitions were technology assets and he expected more of these deals.

KEEN ON LCH.CLEARNET

On Friday, he said other deals remained an option despite the disappointment of the failed Deutsche Boerse merger: We are in a position to grow the company through strategic mergers and acquisitions. It may not be as easy to do mega, cross-border mergers as we might have once thought but, given our strong balance sheet, there's a lot more we can do.

NYSE Euronext is seen by analysts as an obvious rival bidder for European clearing house LCH.Clearnet, which has been in exclusive sales talks with the London Stock Exchange since September.

NYSE was in talks about a possible joint bid for LCH with data vendor Markit but the plan was scrapped in the middle part of last year as the LSE emerged as the front-runner.

We're very interested in what happens to that asset. As the largest shareholder and largest customer, we see a great deal of potential in LCH.Clearnet, Niederauer said.

LCH.Clearnet Chief Executive Ian Axe said on Friday: We are willing to take calls but we are currently in negotiations with the LSE.

The NYSE pledge to boost non-core areas came after the exchange said fourth quarter 2011 data and technology revenues rose 11 percent to $127 million, against a 1 percent fall in futures trading and a 2 percent rise in share trading.

Despite challenging market conditions, our fourth-quarter results were solid with an increasing contribution from non-trading revenue sources and continued cost discipline, chief financial officer Michael Geltzeiler said.

NYSE, like rivals Deutsche Boerse, the London Stock exchange and Nasdaq OMX , has seen its core trading units squeezed by cheaper rivals in recent years.

This has prompted the world's top exchanges to reassess their role and look to non-core areas, such as supplying trading systems and information to clients, to drive growth.

Last week the European Commission killed the NYSE-Boerse deal, which would have created the world's biggest stock exchange operator, saying the combined entity's near-monopoly would make it hard for new players to compete.

(Additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by David Cowell, Dan Lalor and Jodie Ginsberg)