London Stock Exchange gets £32bn Hong Kong bid

People stand near an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo

Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday apart from shares in Shanghai and Shenzhen

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing 0388.HK has made an unsolicited $39 billion takeover approach for the London Stock Exchange LSE.L , a proposal contingent on the LSE ditching its acquisition of data company Refinitiv.

Shareholders in the United Kingdom bourse operator would be offered 2,045p in cash plus 2.495 new Hong Kong Stock Exchange shares.

That values each LSE share at 8,361 pence, the Hong Kong bourse said in its statement.

The chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said combining the two exchanges would bring together "the largest and most significant financial centres in Asia and Europe".

He added, "Together, they would provide an unprecedented market connectivity platform for global market participants, unleashing a new generation of opportunities on the world's first truly global exchange".

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Investors seemed sceptical, with LSE's shares rising 5.6% to 7,182p in late morning on Wednesday, well off HKEX's offer price.

HKEX's publication of its offer caught the London Stock Exchange off-guard.

"The board of LSEG will consider this proposal and will make a further announcement in due course", it said.

However, HKEX added that a condition of the offer would be LSE shareholders rejecting plans for a US$27bn all-share merger with Refinitiv, which was originally announced in July, before the end of the year.

Hong Kong has been embroiled in political turmoil in recent months.

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Chief Executive of HKEX Charles Li said in a statement that the proposed combination will redefine global capital markets for decades to come.

In short, Hunter said the proposal was "a fascinating prospect, but far from a done deal".

"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".

The Refinitiv takeover had marked a major change of LSE strategy and comes two years after its failed £21-billion merger with Germany's Deutsche Boerse.

The proposed takeover of the LSE comes at a time when Hong Kong is beset by political upheaval.

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