London Stock Exchange clarifies Xavier Rolet's language after talks with the Takeover Panel ahead of merger with Deutsche Boerse AG and confirms it hasn't held talks about ICE's strategy

James Nickerson
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In one interview Rolet labelled the ICE's ownership of Euronext as a "disaster" (Source: Getty)

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has clarified arguments made by its chief executive in recent interviews, following discussions with the Takeover Panel.

Yesterday evening the LSE released a statement to clarify Xavier Rolet's comments in the press about the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which could still gatecrash the merger with Deutsche Boerse AG.

One clarification related to an article in the Sunday Telegraph in April, where Rolet appeared to discuss ICE and its strategy.

In the interview Rolet labelled the ICE's ownership of Euronext as a "disaster".

"I don't want just anyone, particularly not some 'slash and burn' type organisation, to come in and kill all of the stuff we've done over the last few years," Rolet added.

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But Rolet's references to ICE and its possible intentions regarding cost reductions, its European strategy, and the AIM market, should it make any offer for LSE, were based on Rolet's own views and assessment of ICE's track record in Europe, the LSE said.

In the statement it was stressed that the LSE and Rolet had not held discussions with the ICE about its strategy.

The announcement follows discussions with the Takeover Panel, the watchdog for merger and acquisition activity in the UK.

Under the Takeover Code, administered by the Takeover Panel, misleading, inaccurate or unsubstantiated statements made in documents or to the media must be publicly corrected immediately.

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A second clarification cited an interview with the Financial Times in March, in which Rolet was quoted as saying: "Our American futures friends have kept increasing fees every year, in 2009, 2010, when everybody was on their back bleeding to death. Total cost of trading is too high, so it's going to change."

The LSE said that the comments were an indication of how European regulations would force fee downs.

"Rolet's statement that 'it's going to change' refers to the introduction of mandatory open access clearing as part of MiFID and EMIR legislation in Europe," the LSE statement read.

The Takeover Panel wanted LSE to clear up matters, as its rules state that "parties to an offer must take particular care not to disclose new material in interviews or discussions with the media ... if any new information is published as a result of such an interview or discussion".