Hong Kong exchange makes £29.6bn bid for London Stock Exchange

Hong Kong exchange makes £29.6bn bid for London Stock Exchange

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing has launched a £29.6 billion proposed takeover bid for the London Stock Exchange Group.

HKEX said in a statement on September 11 that it has made an offer worth 8,361 pence a share to combine the two companies.

At 1205 BST, LSE shares had come off their highs, up 3.9% at 7,068p, having surged to as much as 7,922p when the news first came out, as analysts questioned the likelihood of a deal being done. Reuters news agency is a unit of Thomson Reuters.

A further announcement will be forthcoming, but the London exchange operator insists that it "remains committed to and continues to make good progress on its proposed acquisition of Refinitiv".

The London exchange failed in its most recent bid to join forces with the Deutsche Boerse while the Hong Kong exchange acquired the London Metal Exchange in 2012 for £1.4 billion. HKEX's proposed move could fall at the same hurdle, said Ronald Wan, chief executive at Partners Capital International Ltd in Hong Kong.

The name of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited is displayed at the entrance in Hong Kong, China January 24, 2018.

UK Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, speaking on Bloomberg Television as news of the deal broke, said the British government would scrutinize any tie-up between the exchanges.

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Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom told Bloomberg TV the United Kingdom welcomed foreign investment but would "look very carefully at anything that had security implications for the UK".

The proposed takeover of the LSE comes at a time when Hong Kong is beset by political upheaval. The company went public later that year.

HKEX said it meant to apply for a secondary listing of its shares on the LSE once the deal has gone through.

HKEX's publication of its offer caught the London Stock Exchange off-guard.

As well as its iconic stock exchange, LSE runs businesses including the world's biggest OTC derivatives clearinghouse, LCH Ltd.; index provider FTSE Russell; a European share trading venue called Turquoise; and Borsa Italia.

"In addition, the very nature of the Hong Kong approach will be subject to any number of considerations, such as competitive and regulatory issues".

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