MPs call for London Stock Exchange executives to face parliamentary scrutiny over Deutsche Boerse merger: "Are we handing over control to the Germans?"

 
William Turvill
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Inside The London Stock Exchange
The London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse agreed on a "merger of equals" deal last week (Source: Getty)

MPs have called for London Stock Exchange executives to be called before parliament to answer questions about its proposed merger with Deutsche Boerse.

Details of the “merger of equals” were announced last week by the companies. If it goes through, LSE shareholders will own 45.6 per cent of the new company. Shareholders of the Frankfurt-based exchange Deutsche Boerse will get the remaining 54.4 per cent.

The merged company would be headquartered in London and led by Deutsche Boerse chief executive Carsten Kengeter. LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet would step into the role of adviser to ensure a smooth transition.

Read more: LSE and Deutsche Boerse agree on "merger of equals"

Labour MP John Mann called for the executives from the exchange to be called before the Treasury Select Committee, which he is a member of.

He told the Daily Mail: “This deal might not be in our national interest. Are we handing over control to the Germans? We need to just get up and get them in, and that’s a chance to explore all avenues.”

Tory MP Mark Garnier agreed, saying: "There are big questions - people want to understand what this means. A hearing would give the general public a bit of reassurance.”

Meanwhile, Lord Norman Tebbitt said former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would have suggested at an early stage to LSE executives that the merger "was not acceptable".

Read more: Government slammed over LSE-Deutsche Borse merge

Lord Paul Myners, a former Treasury minister, meanwhile, raised questions over the financial security of the merged business and asked what would happen were it to collapse.

He told the Mail: “Clearly someone would step in to avoid systemic risk and panic. In practice it would be the taxpayer who would step in. But British taxpayers or German taxpayers?"

Last week, former director general of the British Chamber of Commerce John Longworth also called on MPs to intervene before the deal goes through. He compared to deal to “Germany selling BMW to Britain”.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “The government is aware of the announcement by the London Stock Exchange Group and Deutsche Boerse that they have reached agreement on a recommended merger of equals.

"This is a commercial transaction and subject to regulatory and other relevant approvals. The Government will not be commenting at this stage.”

Jonathan Goslin, an analyst at Numis Securities, said intervention from politicians is “in line with expectations” and is one of the “key problem areas” - along with competition authority approval - for the deal.

“There are a number of factors that need to be overcome to push this deal through, and this is just going to be one of them,” he told City A.M.

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