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LSE takeover of Refinitiv approved by Brussels

(Sharecast News) – The European commission has approved the London Stock Exchange’s $27bn (£24bn) takeover of Refinitiv, clearing the way for a new data-to-clearing financial combination.
LSE agreed to buy Refinitiv, Reuters’ former financial and risk division, in August 2019 but completion has been slowed by competition scrutiny and coronavirus. The US approved the deal last year and European sign-off was seen as the main remaining obstacle.

The commission launched an in-depth inquiry into the deal’s impact on competition in sovereign debt and data markets eight months ago. LSE agreed to sell Borsa Italiana, owner of the Milan stock exchange and a trading platform in European government bonds, to gain Brussels’ approval.

Shareholders welcomed the deal when it was announced, sending the LSE’s shares to a record high on expectations that the company would be a stronger competitor for Bloomberg and other rivals. The deal was agreed less than a year after Refinitiv split from Thomson Reuters.

“London Stock Exchange confirms that the European commission has conditionally approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, its proposed all-share acquisition of Refinitiv,” LSE said. “The transaction remains subject to a small number of merger control and financial regulatory authority approvals.”

LSE shares rose 1.2% to £91.26 at 14:04 GMT.

The commission had set a deadline of 21 January to decide on the deal after extending its deadline more than once during the Covid-19 crisis. LSE said it expected to complete the purchase soon in the first quarter of 2021.

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