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London Stock Exchange spurns Hong Kong counterpart’s take over bid

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) last Friday turned down a $36.8 billion takeover offer from the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) citing fundamental flaws in the proposal. In a letter issued publicly to the Hong Kong exchange, LSE chairman Don Robert expressed surprise and disappointment over HKEX’s decision to put out the ‘unsolicited proposal’ in public domain. The letter said the merger had no strategic merit and would be seen as a step backward. Robert also took issue with HKEX’s gross undervaluation of LSE shares. The back and forth, however, didn’t dampen the market sentiment as LSE’s share price saw a 1.6% uptick. LSE made clear that the Shanghai Stock Exchange, as opposed to HKEX, is its preferred and direct channel to access the opportunities with China. Backlashes notwithstanding, HKEX board members maintained that the proposed merger is a ‘highly compelling strategic opportunity’ and would pave the way for a common trading platform opening 18 hours a day.
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