Monday, 23 September, 2019


HKEX Makes £32 Billion Offer for LSEG

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing proposes merger with LSE Hong Kong Exchange's LSE bid conditional on rejection of Refinitiv deal
Conrad Doyle | 11 September, 2019, 14:29

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said on Tuesday that it is planning to acquire the London Stock Exchange Group.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor, said that while a merger between the LSE and HKEX would be "totemic" and make strategic sense given the complementary strengths of the two exchanges, this "initial shot" raised more questions than answers.

But in its statement, the LSE said it "remains committed to and continues to make good progress" with the deal. Together, they have the ability to offer "unique potential to enhance and capture global capital and data flows", it said.

HKEX added: 'The proposed combination would strengthen both businesses, better position them to innovate across markets and geographies, and offer market participants and investors unprecedented global market connectivity'.

The Hong Kong exchange group has made an unsolicited offer of £32 billion ($39.6 million) for the company. A weakened pound has also made United Kingdom companies cheaper takeover targets.

Five weeks ago, LSE also announced a surprise GBP 22 billion merger with data group Refinitiv, part of Thomson Reuters - but HKEX says its offer is dependent on the scrapping of the LSE-Refinitiv deal. The Asian bourse operator had considered the "ambitious and far-reaching" deal for many months, HKEX Chief Executive Officer Charles Li said.

The Hong Kong exchange group already has a strong base in London, following the acquisition of the London Metal Exchange in 2012.

The HKSE deal is subject to approval by both sets of shareholders, as well as the termination of the Refinitiv deal.

The Hong Kong approach is the latest worldwide attempt to acquire the LSE - Germany's Deutsche Boerse has failed three times in recent years, hitting opposition from politicians and regulators.

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