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London Stock Exchange rejects Hong Kong's $39 billion takeover offer

London Stock Exchange rejects Hong Kong's $39 billion takeover offer
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo -
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Peter Nicholls(Reuters)
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By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – London Stock Exchange <LSE.L> has rejected Hong Kong Exchange’s <0388.HK> $39 billion (£31.3 billion) takeover offer, opting to stick with its planned purchase of data and analytics group Refinitiv.

The LSE told HKEX in a letter that it had fundamental concerns about key aspects of the proposal and that HKEX’s relationship with the Hong Kong government would “complicate matters”.

“Accordingly, the board unanimously rejects the conditional proposal and, given its fundamental flaws, sees no merit in further engagement,” the London bourse said in a statement.

LSE shares were trading up 1.3% at 7,352 pence after the statement, little changed from earlier levels.

HKEX made its surprise offer on Wednesday, just two days after its officials travelled to London to present it to LSE Chief Executive David Schwimmer for the first time.

It has been coolly received by shareholders so far, though analysts expect the Asian exchange to return with an improved proposal and could go hostile, meaning a direct appeal to LSE shareholders.

In its letter, the LSE said that HKEX’s assertion that implementing the deal would be swift and certain “is simply not credible”.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Pravin Char)

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