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LSE seeks EU approval for $27 billion Refinitiv bid

The London Stock Exchange has formally asked the European Union's competition officials to approve its $27 billion takeover of Refinitiv.

The European Commission set a 26 June deadline for its decision, Wednesday’s notification said. It can clear the deal with or without conditions or open a four-month investigation following the end of its preliminary review if it has serious concerns.


Analysts expect the Commission to begin a full-scale investigation after 26 June because of the complexity and the massive amount of data involved in the deal.


LSE chief executive David Schwimmer said last month he was still committed to completing the deal in the second half of 2020 and had already been answering questions from the European Commission’s competition officials.


Although the LSE’s proposed takeover of Refinitiv was announced last year, EU competition regulators had requested a delay on all filings from merger parties due to its staff having to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.


On 1 October 2018, Thomson Reuters sold a 55 per cent interest in its financial and risk division, previously the terminals and data business of Reuters, to private equity funds headed by Blackstone. Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters News, retained a 45 per cent interest in the business, which is now known as Refinitiv.


On 1 August 2019, Thomson Reuters and the private equity investors agreed to sell Refinitiv to LSE in an all-share transaction. ■