The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is seeking to persuade the London Stock Exchange shareholders to accept a $39 billion cash-and-share takeover bid.
The initial offering, which was submitted early last week, was quickly rejected by the LSE board due to what the LSE said was its “fundamental flaws”, including regulatory objections.
The HKEX claims there have been constructive initial consultations with regulators, but objections may arise from Consob – the Italian regulator – given that the LSE owns Borsa Italiana.
HKEX has until 9 October to make a firm counter-offer or walk away.
Meanwhile, the LSE is working towards a $27 billion merger with the data company Refinitiv. There are signs that the HKEX may not be more open to discuss the terms of the planned takeover, but will embark on a three-week campaign to change the view of 25 key investors.
The HKEX aspires to emerge as the main conduit of Chinese capital markets and the global financial system. If the LSE takeover succeeds, the new platform would be the largest exchanges operator in the world by revenue.
Mass demonstrations by pro-democracy protestors in Honk Kong have complicated the HKEX’s chances to acquire the LSE as seven members of its 13-member board were appointed by the pro-Beijing rubber-stamp government.
Under the circumstances, the UK government is not likely to give its consent to a deal.