Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange Makes $37B Bid for London Stock Exchange

The Hong Kong stock exchange’s operator said the deal would connect Eastern and Western financial markets.
Lauren MuskettSeptember 11, 2019
Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange Makes $37B Bid for London Stock Exchange

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing made an unsolicited cash and stock bid of $37 billion to purchase its rival London Stock Exchange to combine the companies.

If it goes forward, the deal would mark the second largest foreign takeover of a U.K.-listed company, second only to when Japanese pharmaceutical maker Takeda bought Shire pharmaceuticals in 2018.

The Hong Kong Exchange’s offer of $37 billion represents a 22.9 % premium to the London Exchange’s closing stock price on Tuesday. The bid proposes paying about one-quarter of the purchase price in cash and the remainder in stock.

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Analysts predict that combining the two companies could create a global leader in capital flows and financial data by connecting Eastern and Western financial markets.

Charles Li, chief executive of the Hong Kong Exchange, said a partnership between the two exchanges “will strengthen ties between the U.K. and China, particularly in economic and trade terms.”

For its part, the London Exchange criticized the offer as “preliminary and highly conditional,” but said it would consider the proposal, adding that it “remains committed to and continues to make good progress on its proposed acquisition of Refinitiv Holdings,” which was announced on August 1.

The London Exchange hoped to transorm itself from a stock exchange into a full-fledged data business by purchasing financial information provider Refinitiv.

The Hong Kong Exchange also said it would seek a secondary listing of its shares on the London Exchange after the transaction was completed to reflect its commitment to the United Kingdom.

Last year, the Hong Kong Exchange made a record profit of about $1.2 billion, equal to nearly 59 cents of every dollar it took in as revenue, chiefly as income on its investments.

The Hong Kong Exchange decided to make its offer public so that shareholders of both companies could assess the merits.