The London Stock Exchange has called off its planned merger with Canada's TMX Group, conceding defeat in its efforts to get enough shareholders to back the deal. Rival suitor Maple says it will continue to push for a deal with TMX while speculation is mounting that the LSE could itself become a target of Nasdaq OMX.
TMX shareholders were set to vote on the LSE tie-up today but the operators have called off their plans after deciding that the plan is "highly unlikely" to get the required two-thirds majority approval.
TMX will pay the LSE C$10 million in expenses and will give it another C$29 million if a Maple tie-up materialises in the next year. The Canadian operator says it will now review the Maple offer.
Maple spokesman, Luc Bertrand, says: "Maple will continue to diligently pursue receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals and will continue to engage in a constructive dialogue with stakeholders from across the spectrum."
Meanwhile, shares in the LSE are up over six per cent in morning trading as speculation mounts that it could be a takeover target itself. The Singapore Exchange and Hong Kong Stock Exchange have both been floated as possible bidders but Nasdaq OMX is widely tipped as the most likely to make a move.
With exchanges around the world looking to consolidate, Nasdaq OMX has been left out in the cold, failing to muscle in on Nyse Euronext's merger with Deutsche Borse. It could now return to the London operator, which it tried to buy in 2006.
LSE chief Xavier Rolet says "we are clearly disappointed" about the failure to finalise the TMX deal but insists that "our group is in good shape and financially robust. Whilst the merger with TMX Group was an exciting opportunity for LSEG, we continue to see other significant growth opportunities across our well-positioned capital markets, information services, technology and post trade businesses."