Friday 31 July 2020 8:57 am

London Stock Exchange considers selling Milan bourse to secure Refinitiv deal

The London Stock Exchange has said it is considering selling part or all of its Italian stock exchange group in a bid to secure its takeover of Refinitiv.

The company said it had begun “exploratory discussions” which could result in MTS, Borsa Italiana’s bond trading platform, or the entire Italian arm being sold.

“There can be no certainty that LSEG will decide to proceed with a transaction relating to either of these businesses,” it said in a statement.

The LSE bought the Italian assets in 2007 for €1.7bn but their future has been under debate following the announcement of the Refinitiv takeover. Rivals Euronext and Deutsche Boerse have reportedly expressed an interest in the Italian operations in the past.

The LSE first announced plans to merge with Refinitiv, which is 45 per cent owned by Reuters, last year. The stock exchange said it expects to complete the deal by early 2021, suggesting a longer timeline than previously indicated. It is currently trying to win approval from European competition regulators.

“LSEG has received a number of other antitrust and foreign investment approvals and continues to make progress in relation to the remaining clearances and approvals upon which the Transaction is also conditional,” it said in a statement.

The exchange said the US Department of Justice has closed its antitrust investigation into the Refinitiv deal without seeking changes.

First-half results from the London stock exchange showed revenue rose four per cent to £1.058bn as demand for data and clearing grew. It increased its interim dividend from 16p to 23.3p.

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