The London Stock Exchange has abandoned secretive merger talks with Swedish exchange operator OMX in order to focus on fighting off a possible takeover bid from Australian investment bank Macquarie.
According to a report by British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, the LSE has been holding talks with OMX covering a number of potential partnerships, including a possible merger. But the discussions were recently abandoned after the LSE decided it had to build up a defence against a possible takeover bid by Macquarie.
Macquarie said in August it was looking into a possible takeover bid for the LSE. Last week UK regulators gave the Australian bank a "put up or shut up" deadline of 15 December to reveal its intentions.
However, while the Telegraph reports that the LSE and OMX have abandoned merger talks, a separate report in the UK's Observer newspaper says negotiations between the two parties are still continuing.
The Observer says LSE chief executive Clara Furse and chairman Christopher Gibson-Smith have examined plans for closer ties with OMX if the UK exchange retains its independence in the new year. The two exchanges already operate EDX London, a joint venture that focuses on trading in equity derivatives, but are also exploring other business opportunities.
OMX originally launched a hostile takeover bid for the London exchange in 2000, which was branded inadequate by the LSE and also helped de-rail a potential merger between the UK exchange and Deutsche Börse.