Sunday 22 September 2019 4:35 pm

Hong Kong stock exchange drafts in bankers to aid charm offensive for LSE bid

Banking giants HSBC and UBS have been drafted in by the Hong Kong stock exchange as it ramps up its shareholder campaign to push through a takeover of its London rival.

The two corporate groups are trying to win round shareholders of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) after making a £32bn offer for the group, according to the Telegraph.

Earlier this month the LSE board rejected the cash-and-share approach from the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX), describing the bid as a “significant backward step”.

The LSE is pursuing its own plans to acquire data provider Refinitiv for £22bn, but HKEX has been seeking to convince investors that its deal is more preferable.

The Hong Kong bourse said it “had hoped to demonstrate” why the benefits of its proposal outweighed those of LSE’s deal to buy Refinitiv.

Last week LSE boss David Schwimmer said he feels “very good” about merger plans with Refinitiv, in a fresh sign of the group’s reluctance to accept a separate takeover offer from its Hong Kong rival.

LSE’s share price soared to a record high immediately after the proposals were announced but soon lost most of its gains as shareholders reacted to the unprecedented move aimed at “bringing together the largest and most significant financial centres in Asia and Europe”.

The proposal comes just two years after EU regulators blocked a proposed £21bn merger between the LSE and Germany’s Deutsche Boerse.