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Why Hong Kong’s bid for the LSE must struggle

The bid by HKEX for the London Stock Exchange is bold and has scale on its side, but faces regulatory barriers – and the fact the LSE has a different idea of what an exchange should look like.


Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing’s (HKEX) $39 billion bid for London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group presents the London exchange with two alternative models of how an exchange should look in the modern world.

HKEX’s bid is an argument for scale; LSE’s existing deal with Refinitiv positions it for a future based on data.

It is easier to see why HKEX would make the bid than why LSE would accept it – which it hasn’t, instead turning it down with considerable sting, although every sensible target refuses the first bid.

HKEX sees a world dominated by exchanges such as Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the NYSE and the Chicago Stock Exchange, and CME, which owns the mercantile exchanges of Chicago and New York, and the Chicago Board of Trade.

It sees Japan Exchange Group acquiring the Tokyo Commodity Exchange. It wants global scale.

It would hand it over to the Chinese through the Hong Kong back door - Neil Wilson,

CEO Charles Li is amid a strategic plan under the tagline ‘China anchored, globally connected’, and this would clearly fulfil the second part.

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