Hong Kong exchange makes offer for London Stock Exchange

Surprise offer values the exchange at €33bn

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock


Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd made an unexpected bid for the London Stock Exchange Group, which could potentially throw the European exchange’s own transformative deal into jeopardy.

The transaction values one of Europe’s largest exchanges at £29.6 billion (€33.17 billion), according to a statement on Wednesday. The Asian bourse operator had considered the “ambitious and far-reaching” deal for many months, HKEX chief executive Charles Li said. The LSE, which agreed to snap up data provider Refinitiv in a $27 billion (€24.48 billion) blockbuster agreement just weeks ago, declined to comment.

Both companies have been involved in exchange merger deals in recent years, with LSE failing in its attempt to combine with Deutsche Boerse and HKEX acquiring London Metal Exchange in 2012 for £1.4 billion.

“These are two major security exchanges in the world,” said Ronald Wan, chief executive at Partners Capital International in Hong Kong. “A takeover from Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, could be seen as a takeover from China. It won’t be easy to clear all the regulatory hurdles – the deal is super politically sensitive.”

UK business secretary Andrea Leadsom, speaking on Bloomberg Television as news of the deal broke, said the British government would scrutinise any tie-up between the exchanges. Ms Leadsom said the UK authorities would “look very carefully at anything that had security implications for the UK.” – Bloomberg