Switzerland’s Six exchange has put in the highest bid so far for London Stock Exchange’s Borsa Italiana, according to a report, putting it ahead of France’s Euronext and Deutsche Boerse.
The bid valued Borsa Italiana – Italy’s only stock exchange – at around €3.5bn-€4bn (£3.2bn-£3.7bn), a source told Reuters.
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) snapped up Borsa Italiana in 2007 for €1.6bn. It is now looking to sell the exchange – either entire or in parts – as it tries to win regulatory approval for its $27bn (£21bn) tie-up with data provider Refinitiv.
In June, Brussels sent the LSE-Refinitiv merger, which was announced last year, for a full antitrust investigation. It is concerned that the combined group could use its data access and exchange system to offer customers unfair advantages.
Brussels is also looking at concerns over bond trading. Italian authorities have said they are worried about Borsa’s bond-trading platform MTS being sold to LSE, which already owns bond-trading venue Tradeweb. They have said it is a strategic asset.
Six’s bid comes after Euronext confirmed on Friday that it would team up with Italy’s state-owned investment bank CDP to put in an offer.
The offer from Switzerland’s Six is still non-binding and would need to be reviewed by LSE, another source told Reuters.
Both Six and London Stock Exchange declined to comment.
Another source said Six would be open to discussions with Italian authorities over governance. Yet they said Six’s offer is fully funded and so it would not need to join with another partner.
Six became Europe’s third-biggest exchange this year after a €2.6bn takeover of Spain’s BME. Sources told Reuters Six was looking to use the takeover of BME as a blueprint.