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Hong Kong Stock Exchange makes £32bn move for London counterpart

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has made a surprise £32bn bid approach to take over the London Stock Exchange Group.

It comes weeks after LSE agreed a $27bn (£22bn) all-share deal to take control of Refinitiv, a move the company said would transform it into a UK-headquartered, global rival to Michael Bloomberg’s financial news and data business.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing has tabled a proposal to the LSE board that stipulates its offer will only proceed if the deal for Refinitiv is terminated or voted down by shareholders.

“Together, we will connect East and West,” said Charles Li, the chief executive of HKEX. “Both businesses have great brands, financial strength and proven growth track records. A combined group will … enhance the long-term resilience and relevance of London and Hong Kong as global financial centres.”

When the Refinitiv deal was announced, David Schwimmer, the chief executive of LSE, said it would allow it to expand into Asia and emerging markets.

HKEX said its move to thwart that deal would instead drive its own ambitions to “reinforce Hong Kong’s position as the key connection between Mainland China, Asia and the rest of the world”.

Laura Cha, the chair of HKEX, said: “We believe a combination represents a highly compelling strategic opportunity to create a global market infrastructure group, bringing together the largest and most significant financial centres in Asia and Europe.

“Following early engagement with LSEG, we look forward to working in detail with the LSEG Board to demonstrate that this transaction is in the best interests of all stakeholders, investors and both businesses.”

Shares in the LSE jumped 9% to £74.06 on news of the approach.

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