The London Stock Exchange Buys Refinitiv for $27B

The deal helps the exchange become a global rival to Bloomberg.
Lauren MuskettAugust 1, 2019
The London Stock Exchange Buys Refinitiv for $27B

The London Stock Exchange Group agreed to buy Refinitiv in a deal that will help the exchange compete with Bloomberg by combining data from the LSEG with Refinitiv’s analytics and distribution.

Refinitiv shareholders will own a 37% stake in the LSEG. Including its debt, the all-share deal values Refinitiv at $27 billion.

The LSEG will also acquire Refinitiv’s majority stake in the bond trading platform Tradeweb and its ownership of currency trading platform FXall.

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The deal comes 10 months after Blackstone Group, the U.S. private equity giant, and other investors closed a leveraged buyout of Refinitiv from Thomson Reuters.

Reuters, citing a person familiar with the deal, said Blackstone would double the value of its investment.

“This transaction is a defining moment for LSEG in terms of its strategic importance,” Don Robert, chairman of the London Stock Exchange Group, said in a statement.

Under the agreement, Robert will be chairman of the combined business, LSEG chief executive David Schwimmer will be CEO, and LSEG finance chief David Warren will be the CFO. David Craig will join LSEG’s executive committee and continue as CEO of Refinitiv.

The LSE will issue approximately $14.5 billion of new shares to fund the deal, the companies said. It will also assume Refinitiv’s net debt of $12.5 billion. The global business will continue to be headquartered in London.

Reuters, citing sources close to the deal, said the expectation is a full competition investigation could take 18 months. LSE attempted to merge with rival Deutsche Boerse in 2017, the last of five attempts, in 2017, but that deal was blocked by EU regulators.

The deal also faces some uncertainty related to Brexit, as new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised the EU would leave the U.K. by October 31 even without a replacement agreement.

“We are prepared for whatever may come from the various Brexit scenarios,” David Schwimmer said.

LSE’s share price finished up more than 6.5%.