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LSE gets European approval for Refinitiv merger

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London Stock Exchange PLC (LON:LSE) has received European approval for its proposed acquisition of data giant Refinitiv, paving the way for completion this quarter.

The LSE has agreed to sell Borsa Italiana, the owner of the Milan stock exchange, and also a European sovereign debt platform in return for the green light.

“Infrastructure competition in trading services and access to financial data products on fair and equal terms is essential for the European economy and in particular for consumers and businesses,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief.

The LSE has also reportedly has agreed to keep trading and clearing of interest rate derivatives separate.

Data and clearing services have become huge business following the explosion of tracking products such as ETFs and derivatives and the deal will establish LSE/Refinitiv as a rival to Bloomberg, CME, Intercontinental Exchange and S&P/IHS Markit, which agreed to a US$44bn merger last year.

The deal was announced in August 2019. US authorities have already given their consent but some smaller markets still need to give consent.

Refinitiv‘s private equity owners will own a 37% stake in the combined group on completion.

Shares in LSE rose 2% to 9,150p valuing the group at £31.5bn.

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