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On 8 October 2019, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE) withdrew its £31.6 billion possible cash and shares offer for the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE). See here for more.
Although the LSE rejected the approach, stating that the bid had ‘fundamental flaws’, HKSE had announced that it was continuing to engage with LSE shareholders. Despite spending three weeks after LSE’s rejection attempting to win over the group’s shareholders, LSE shareholders remained unconvinced. In its statement, HKSE noted that it was ‘disappointed’ it its inability to convince the LSE’s management, emphasising that it continued to believe that a merger between the groups was strategically compelling and would create a world-leading market infrastructure group.
It was a pre-condition of HKSE’s offer that the LSE discontinue its acquisition of Refinitiv, a deal that is set to make them a key player in the financial data market and allow them to compete with giants Bloomberg. In its response to the withdrawal of HKSE’s offer, the LSE confirmed that it remained committed to completing its acquisition of Refinitiv, which remains subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
Even if the LSE had been convinced that a tie up with the HKSE would give them a way around China’s tight capital controls (the LSE continues to maintain it prefers Shanghai as a hub), political uncertainty, regulatory barriers and corporate governance issues would have upset the transaction. The LSE owns clearing house LCH, the world’s largest handler of US-dollar denominated swaps. The transaction would potentially place HKSE in a position to clear these trades and it is uncertain whether the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) would have approved the deal. Meanwhile, political turmoil in Hong Kong continues and the protests in Hong Kong have only worsened, with Carrie Lam, the 4th Chief Executive of Hong Kong, having to invoke a colonial-era emergency order banning protestors from
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Market Tracker is a unique service for corporate lawyers housed within Lexis®PSL Corporate. It features a powerful transaction data analysis tool for accessing, analysing and comparing the specific features of corporate transactions, with a comprehensive and searchable library of deal documentation across 14 different deal types. The Market Tracker product also includes news and analysis of key corporate deals and activity and in-depth analysis of recent trends in corporate transactions.
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