Political dangers of Hong Kong trade’s $39 billion LSE strategy takes toll on shares

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong inventory trade shares fell greater than 3% on Thursday as buyers raised considerations in regards to the political and regulatory dangers concerned in its $39 billion strategy to take over London Inventory Alternate (LSE) (LSE.L).

FILE PHOTO: The identify of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Restricted is displayed on the entrance in Hong Kong, China January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photograph

The proposed deal goals to create an trade powerhouse spanning Asia and Europe which might be higher capable of compete with U.S. rivals corresponding to Intercontinental Alternate Inc (ICE.N) and CME Group inc (CME.O).

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing’s (HKEX) (0388.HK) indicative provide, made public after the shut of the town’s markets on Wednesday, additionally acquired a cool response in London, the place LSE shares completed up 5.9%, far wanting the implied premium.

Powerful political and technical challenges to the deal have already surfaced and HKEX shares have been off 3.3% in Hong Kong, underperforming the blue-chip Grasp Seng Index .HSI.

HKEX’s proposal is conditional on LSE abandoning a $27 billion acquisition of economic data supplier Refinitiv from U.S. non-public fairness agency Blackstone (BX.N) and Thomson Reuters (TRI.TO), the mother or father of Reuters Information.

That deal, which went public in late July, prompted LSE’s shares to leap 15% on hopes Refinitiv’s monetary knowledge enterprise would enhance its long-term profitability. LSE mentioned in an announcement on Wednesday that it remained dedicated to the Refinitiv deal.

HKEX has 28 days to make a agency bid for the LSE, whose shares have been down 0.2% at 7,194 pence at 0809 GMT on Thursday, or stroll away for six months.

A supply near the LSE mentioned HKEX executives met with LSE Chief Government David Schwimmer in London on Monday, simply two days earlier than they made the proposal public.

The LSE board will meet inside days to determine if it’s going to have interaction with HKEX and thereby successfully ditch the Refinitiv takeover, the supply added.

An LSE spokeswoman had no touch upon Thursday.

Analysts mentioned the notion of Beijing’s rising affect over Hong Kong may turn into a key sticking level for an LSE takeover given the federal government’s shut hyperlinks with the HKEX.

Fitch Scores mentioned that “rising management by Chinese language authorities over Hong Kong” may elevate regulatory considerations in Britain and the USA about knowledge and data safety.

Hong Kong is getting into a fourth month of typically violent protests sparked by laws that might have drawn the previous British colony nearer to the Chinese language authorized system.

The federal government’s dealing with of the protests has been criticized internationally, as has the political stress utilized by Beijing to Hong Kong firms to not assist the pro-democracy motion.

Cathay Pacific Airways (0293.HK) was ordered to droop workers who have been concerned in or supported the demonstrations.

The Hong Kong authorities holds a 6% stake within the HKEX, approves six of the 13 board members and may also cease every other shareholding rising above 5%.

“The transaction would require varied regulatory approvals, which can stress-test the world’s understanding of Hong Kong’s ‘one nation, two methods’ structure,” mentioned David Blennerhassett, an unbiased analyst writing on the SmartKarma analysis platform.

“Will probably be politically powerful now and within the near-term to get this via varied regulatory channels,” he added.


Analysts mentioned HKEX’s share worth fall mirrored investor concern in regards to the dilutive impression of the cash-and-shares provide, and scepticism the provide would succeed.

“If the market thought the deal was going to go forward, I’d have anticipated the shares to have fallen by greater than 3%, sometimes that’s what we’d count on for an acquirer in a deal like this,” mentioned Michael Wu, analyst at Morningstar.

Beneath the phrases of the provide, LSE shareholders would obtain 2,045 pence in money and a couple of.495 newly issued HKEX shares. HKEX mentioned it supposed to use for a secondary itemizing of its shares on the LSE if the deal went via.

Citigroup downgraded HKEX to ‘promote’ from ‘purchase’, saying the acquisition worth was excessive and will “add downward stress” to the trade’s shares and valuation. Regulatory hurdles for the deal have been additionally excessive, it mentioned in its analysis be aware.

Analysts nonetheless mentioned they might see strategic logic in HKEX’s transfer.

“We imagine that bringing the most important listed exchanges in Asia and Europe collectively may create new income streams and rather a lot is determined by how nicely HKEX can capitalise on this,” Daiwa Capital Markets analyst Jonas Kan wrote in a analysis report.

Reporting by Jennifer Hughes, Sumeet Chatterjee, Alun John in Hong Kong; Further reporting by Donny Kwok and Lukas Jobs in Hong Kong, Pamela Barbaglia and Huw Jones in London; Modifying by Stephen Coates and Alexander Smith

Author: Maxwell C.

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