HKEX makes £29.6 billion bid for the London Stock Exchange

London Stock Exchange gets £32bn Hong Kong bid

London Stock Exchange gets £32bn Hong Kong bid

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing has made an unsolicited $39 billion takeover bid for the London Stock Exchange, an offer contingent on the LSE ditching its acquisition of data company Refinitiv.

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.

One of the conditions of the offer from Hong Kong is that the LSE scraps its proposed £22bn deal to buy data firm Refinitiv from its current owners, which include Thomson Reuters and private equity house Blackstone.

HKEX says the combination would create a leading market infrastructure group with a global footprint and, crucially, close ties to China.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor, said that while a merger between the LSE and HKEX would be "totemic" and make strategic sense given the complementary strengths of the two exchanges, this "initial shot" raised more questions than answers.

After the announcement, LSE shares jumped 16 percent to an all-time high, but later fell back.

HKEX also noted that the acquisition would benefit both sides of the deal, with LSEG customers gaining better access to the Chinese market and the Hong Kong firm saying it wants to use the British exchange's trading and clearing technology. The LSE Board - which just last month agreed terms for a $27 billion buyout of Refinitiv - has yet to make statement.

The deal would "redefine global capital markets for decades to come", said Charles Li, chief executive of the Hong Kong company.

Together, the two stock exchanges would be worth more than $70 billion, it said.

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

"In addition, the very nature of the Hong Kong approach will be subject to any number of considerations, such as competitive and regulatory issues".

The Refinitiv takeover had marked a major change of LSE strategy and comes two years after its failed £21-billion merger with Germany's Deutsche Boerse.