LSE-Toronto stock exchange merger fails

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The London Stock Exchange and Toronto's bourse scrapped their plans to merge Wednesday after admitting they could not get the support of two-thirds of shareholders in a vote.

The move opened the way for the possible takeover of the TMX Group, which operates the Toronto and Montreal stock markets, by a consortium of Canadian banks called the Maple Group which had launched a rival $3.8 billion bid to the LSE's.

"A majority of shareholder votes cast by proxy prior to the June 28, 2011 proxy cutoff supported the merger resolution," the LSE and TMX Group said in a statement.

"However, it is clear that the two-thirds threshold required to approve the merger would not have been achieved."

The LSE early this year announced plans to take over TMX with a view to creating a global giant rivaling NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Boerse, which are also trying to merge their operations.

In response the Maple Group put together its own bid for TMX Group to block the deal.

Both bids topped $3.8 billion.

TMX Group said it would "continue to pursue its growth objectives" while its board "reviews the company's opportunities, including the offer from Maple Group."

TMX Group has also agreed to pay LSE a $10 million expense fee for the failed bid.

"We are clearly disappointed," LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet said in a statement.

"We believe the merger would have been a unique opportunity for TMX Group shareholders to be partners in a truly international group, co-located in Toronto and London, focussed on growth and opportunity."

"Whilst the merger with TMX Group was an exciting opportunity... we continue to see other significant growth opportunities across our well-positioned capital markets, information services, technology and post trade businesses," Rolet added.

© 2011 AFP

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