Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) has announced it will not proceed with its bid for the London Stock Exchange.
Last month, Hong Kong made an unsolicited $39bn bid for the LSE, which it rejected.
In a statement today (8 October), HKEX said the board continues to believe that a combination of LSEG and HKEX is "strategically compelling and would create a world-leading market infrastructure group".
HKEX is disappointed that it has been unable to engage with the management of LSEG in realising this vision, and as a consequence has decided it is not in the best interests of HKEX shareholders to pursue this proposal."
The statement added: "Despite engagement with a broad set of regulators and extensive shareholder engagement, the board of HKEX is disappointed that it has been unable to engage with the management of LSEG in realising this vision, and as a consequence has decided it is not in the best interests of HKEX shareholders to pursue this proposal."
Hong Kong had previously come under increasing pressure to sweeten its offer, with key shareholders want a higher price than the $39bn offered for the business, with one shareholder suggesting there would need to be "more of a cash element".
Others have also said they would need to be convinced that LSE's planned £22bn takeover of Refinitiv is "rubbish" and that regulators would approve an acceptable offer from HKEX.
The LSE rejected the unexpected $39bn bid last week, with LSEG chairman Don Robert writing in an open letter to HKEX that he was "very surprised and disappointed" that HKEX published the "unsolicited proposal within two days of our receiving it".
Robert added LSGE had "fundamental concerns about [HKEX's] proposal". These were that the proposal does not meet LSEG's strategic objectives, what it called "serious deliverability risk" and an "unattractive" share consolidation" for investors.
Robert continued: "Irrespective of the considerations above, and even assuming your proposal were deliverable, its value falls substantially short of an appropriate valuation for a takeover of LSEG, especially when compared to the significant value we expect to create through our planned acquisition of Refinitiv."
The Refinitiv deal has been widely praised by key shareholders including Nick Train.
One of the largest shareholders in the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has called for a rival offer to be made for the unexpected $39bn bid from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) for the business.
According to The Telegraph, the top-ten shareholder in the LSEG refused to be rushed into a decision over the unsolicited bid, saying it was "now or never" for rival suitors to begin a bidding war for the business.
The investor believes other exchanges, such as the Intercontinental Exchange in the US, would feel pressure to make a counter-offer.
Yesterday (12 September), the Hong Kong stock market tabled an unsolicited $39bn bid for the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on Wednesday.
The offer by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) valued LSE shares at £83.61, and hoped to combine "the largest and most significant financial centres in Asia and Europe", according to the report, citing the HKEX's offer document.
But a statement from the LSE yesterday called the bid "unsolicited, preliminary and highly conditional", adding it would "consider" the proposal and "make a further announcement in due course".
The statement reaffirmed LSE's commitment to the progress it was making with its own acquisition of data house Refinitiv Holdings, as was announced on 1 August, subject to shareholder approval in November.
The FT cited two sources "close to the board" with both regulatory and technical reasons the deal would be difficult to complete.
According to Reuters, the approach saw LSE shares close up 5.9% on Wednesday while HKEX shares fell 3.4%.
This article was first published by Investment Week, a sister title to International Investment