Hong Kong Exchange proposes merger with London Stock Exchange

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Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing mentioned it has proposed a takeover provide for the London Inventory Trade Group in a deal price round £29.6 billion.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has bid nearly £32 billion for its London rival in a shock move Wednesday to bring together two of the world's largest financial hubs in Asia and Europe.

"The board of HKEX believes a proposed combination with LSEG represents a highly compelling strategic opportunity to create a global market infrastructure leader", the Hong Kong exchange said in a statement on Wednesday.

LSE's board said it would consider the proposal and will make a further announcement in due course.

Shares in the London Stock Exchange have surged to a new all-time high following the offer, jumping 16 percent to £78.94.

The move comes at a time of political turmoil in both Hong Kong and London and is aimed at creating a global trading power better able to compete with USA rivals such as ICE ICE.N and CME CME.O .

The deal will be funded by a combination of existing cash and a new credit facility, according to the HKEX.

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Mr Li said earlier this year in the company's latest strategic plan that HKEX aims to be "globally connected", while being "China anchored".

The LSE announced in August that it has agreed to buy Refinitiv in a $27 billion deal aimed at transforming the exchange into a market data and analytics giant.

Charles Li, chief executive of HKEX, says: "Bringing HKEX and LSEG together will redefine global capital markets for decades to come".

Hong Kong has been embroiled in political turmoil in recent months.

Meanwhile, analysts over at Bank of America Merrill Lynch were also sceptical, saying the offer price was below their price objective for the LSE and that given the "regulatory complexity" they preferred the Refinitiv merger.

The German broker added that "political objections" had traditionally been a key factor in derailing mergers in the exchange space, and that as the merger would see a Chinese company acquiring the primary equity markets of both the United Kingdom and Italy, it would face "elevated political risks" going forward.

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