Hong Kong rival launches London Stock Exchange bid
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing (HKEX) launched an audacious £31bn (€39bn) bid for the London Stock Exchange yesterday, looking to upset the London bourse's planned merger with data provider Refinitiv.
The UK's main stock market operator has launched its own €24.5bn takeover bid for Refinitiv, a data business carved out of Thomson Reuters by Blackstone.
The London Stock Exchange board said it "remains committed to" its acquisition of Refinitiv, and highlighted hurdles facing a Hong Kong offer that it called unsolicited, preliminary and highly conditional.
Still, the board said it would consider the proposal and make a further announcement.
The UK's own government is keen to become a European hub for Chinese finance.
London Stock Exchange's own shares initially rose but softened as the market digested the news, reflecting scepticism including question marks over the implications of potential Chinese ownership amid a worsening political situation in Hong Kong itself.
HKEX is betting London will remain a financial powerhouse post-Brexit. A tie-up will boost "growth prospects for both companies, and strategic positioning for both cities," it said.
Its "ambitious and far-reaching" bid has been in the works for months.
HKEX boss Charles Li called the ongoing protests "not helpful" last month, coming alongside HKEX reports of a 21pc fall in trading fees in the first half of the year.