Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

HKEX hires top bankers in bid to charm LSE shareholders

London Stock Exchange's board has rejected a £31.6bn bid from the Hong Kong exchange

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearance has reportedly hired UBS and Credit Suisse to woo London Stock Exchange shareholders. Bloomberg
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearance has reportedly hired UBS and Credit Suisse to woo London Stock Exchange shareholders. Bloomberg

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing has started working with investment bank UBS as it begins its charm offensive to convince London Stock Exchange Group investors on the merits of its takeover bid, people familiar with the matter said.

The Swiss bank has been brought in as an adviser and is helping HKEX to arrange meetings with LSE shareholders, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Credit Suisse is also helping HKEX to set up meetings with LSE investors, a person familiar with the matter said. Some or all of the banks may be retained as financial advisers for HKEX, the people said.

London Stock Exchange rejects Hong Kong $39bn takeover offer

The Hong Kong bourse was already working with US boutique investment bank Moelis on the £31.6 billion (Dh144.7bn) bid.

HKEX has also hired HSBC Holdings to advise on the process, as it focuses on wooing London- and Asia-based investors, the Sunday Telegraph reported, without saying where it got the information.

Top LSE shareholders will only support the deal if HKEX can convince them that LSE’s $27 billion (Dh99.2bn) takeover bid for data provider Refinitiv is “absolute rubbish”, that the HKEX offer will receive regulatory approval and that the bid will be improved, the paper cited unidentified sources as saying.

Representatives for HSBC and Credit Suisse declined to comment.

LSE last week rejected HKEX’s takeover offer, citing problems in “strategy, deliverability, form of consideration and value.” HKEX said afterward LSE shareholders “should have the opportunity to analyze” the proposal in detail.

HKEX has quietly begun its campaign on the ground, citing analysts’ criticism of the proposed Refinitiv acquisition, Bloomberg News has reported. An Aug. 13 Commerzbank AG research report pointed to sluggish growth at Refinitiv and said a substantial part of its revenue base is in “structural decline.”

Updated: September 22, 2019 06:56 PM

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