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HKEX offers to buy LSE for $36.6b

By Zhou Mo and Dai Kaiyi in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-12 07:16
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is pictured on Dec 1, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

Move would allow Asian bourse to extend reach, become global leader

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd announced on Wednesday that it had offered to buy London Stock Exchange Group Plc for $36.6 billion, marking a significant push by the Asian bourse operator to further extend its global reach.

The proposed combination represents "a highly compelling strategic opportunity to create a global market infrastructure leader", HKEX said in a statement.

It would strengthen both businesses, better position them to innovate across markets and geographies, and offer market participants and investors unprecedented global market connectivity, it said.

The announcement came weeks after the London bourse announced a plan to acquire financial data analysis services provider Refinitiv with the aim of diversifying its business and turning itself into a market data and analytics giant.

The Hong Kong bourse operator said its deal would only go ahead on condition that the Refinitiv merger does not proceed.

But if successful, it would mark HKEX's second overseas acquisition following its takeover of the London Metal Exchange in 2012.

"Bringing HKEX and LSEG together will redefine global capital markets for decades to come. Both businesses have great brands, financial strength and proven growth track records," HKEX Chief Executive Charles Li said.

"A combined group will be strongly placed to benefit from the dynamic and evolving macroeconomic landscape, whilst enhancing the long-term resilience and relevance of London and Hong Kong as global financial centers."

Li later said the proposed deal has nothing to do with the timing, and it is "the right thing to do" for the HKEX, regardless of any temporary geopolitical difficulties.

He added that the HKEX deal is fundamentally different from the Refinitiv one and would deliver significantly more superior growth.

LSEG confirmed the proposal, saying it will consider it and make a further announcement "in due course".

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