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Merger between London Stock Exchange, Deutsche Börse in doubt

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Staff Writer | February 27, 2017
The London Stock Exchange has all but ended a planned merger with Deutsche Boerse to create Europe's biggest stock exchange by ruling out meeting a European antitrust demand, saying it has strong prospects alone.
Deutsche Börse
Stock exchange   LSE against the European Commission
In a bid to create a European trading powerhouse that would better compete against U.S. rivals making inroads on their home turf, the two exchanges struck a 29 billion euro ($30.1 billion) deal just over a year ago.

But in a highly unusual step, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) preempted a European Commission antitrust decision, saying it was unlikely to give clearance for the merger after the London bourse had refused to sell an electronic trading platform in Italy.

The exchange added that it would still work to make the merger with Deutsche Boerse succeed, but that would be impossible unless the Commission, which declined to comment, changed its position.

Calling the request "disproportionate," the British exchange said it believed that it would struggle to sell MTS and that such a sale would be detrimental to its business.

"Based on the commission's current position, LSE believes that the Commission is unlikely to provide clearance for the merger," it said.

The exchanges had already agreed to sell part of LSE's clearing business, LCH SA, in order to satisfy antitrust requirements.