Hong Kong bourse drops bid for London Stock Exchange

Hong Kong’s bourse said on Tuesday it has dropped its $39bn bid to take over the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE), saying it had been unable to bring the takeover target’s management on board with its unsolicited approach.

In a statement, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX) said it still believed the combination of the two exchanges would be “strategically compelling”.

“HKEX is disappointed that it has been unable to engage with the management (of the London Stock Exchange) in realising this vision,” HKEX said.

The September offer’s chances of success had been viewed by analysts as slim after it was emphatically rejected by the LSE, which insisted it would stick to its own, already announced $27bn plan to buy data and analytics company Refinitiv. HKEX had said the LSE would have to drop the Refinitiv purchase for its offer to go ahead.

When HKEX announced its surprise move, analysts had also said the perception that Beijing was exerting growing influence over Hong Kong could become another key sticking point for an LSE takeover, given the Hong Kong government’s close links with the HKEX at a time of major unrest in the city over its ties with mainland China.

The LSE was not immediately available to comment on HKEX’s announcement on Tuesday.

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