The offer from down under undervalues us, so said the London Stock Exchange, but that did not stop Australia’s Macquarie Bank from pressing ahead with a 2.2 billion euro takeover bid for Europe’s biggest share market.
Because of a deadline imposed by the UK takeover authorities, the Australian investment bank had to present an offer now or wait six months before making an approach.
The hostile, all cash, bid is for 6% less than the LSE’s current share price.
Macquarie, which has been on a buying spree lately in Europe purchasing such things as toll roads, airports and utilities, is worth 10 billion euros.
Shares in London Stock Exchange plc have been driven up by takeover speculation and its current market value is 2.3 billion euros.
Macquarie has the money, its profit has quadrupled in the past four years and it has a reputation for putting up fees for customers
of the monopolies it has bought, but it has offered assurances it would not do that with the LSE.
Insiders say this bid is just the “start of a game” and it could well bring better offers.
Euronext, the owner of several markets including Paris and Amsterdam, has said it is still
interested in bidding and is in talks with Britain’s competition regulator.
Germany’s Deutsche Boerse abandoned a tentative offer in March after the Frankfurt-based exchange’s shareholder baulked at the idea and forced out the chief executive who suggested it.