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LSE Plans to Sell Borsa Italiana, 5-Star Government Might Place Bid

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) is considering selling a part or maybe all of Borsa Italiana to ease the process of receiving the regulatory green light for Refinitiv acquisition.

In a media call on Friday following the publication of LSE’s half-yearly financial results, its CEO David Schwimmer revealed that the Group already started “exploratory discussions” for selling the Italian fixed-income trading platform MTS SpA or potentially the entire Milan-based stock exchange.

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“We want to evaluate whether there are potential benefits of keeping the two together,” Schwimmer said. “We are continuing our dialogue with the European Commission, it’s constructive.”

Interested parties already inline

LSE acquired Borsa Italiana in 2017, and this unit generated 14 percent of the Group’s revenue last year.

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Even before the recent revelation of LSE’s intention to drop the Italian stock exchange from its portfolio, multiple European rival groups were already interested in bidding for the unit. According to Bloomberg, the London-based Group could see bids between €3 billion to €3.5 billion.

The Italian ruling 5-Star party lawmakers are also interested in the domestic stock exchange and asked the government to place a bit for it.

“We have filed a resolution…to get the government to take every initiative needed to arrange a competitive bid to bring back Borsa Italiana under domestic control and stave off any break-up of the group,” Davide Zanichelli, a 5-Star party lawmaker, said in a statement.

Landmark deal ahead

The dilution of the Italian exchange is seen as the LSE’s attempt to pave the way for its $27 billion Refinitiv acquisition deal. For that, the Group needs the go-ahead from multiple global regulators, who are concerned about LSE’s increasing market share. The Group intends to close the deal by the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

“We are making good progress on the proposed transaction with Refinitiv, securing a number of regulatory approvals and engaging constructively with authorities on remaining approvals,” Schwimmer said.

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