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London Stock Exchange's Refinitiv Acquisition On Track

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 27 February 2020

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A media report suggested that the timing could slip off when the transaction completes. This news service understands that LSEG does not intend to alter its timetable when the process ends.

The London Stock Exchange Group is insisting that its $27 billion purchase of data provider Refinitiv – a firm that covers various sectors including wealth management – is going ahead as planned, this publication understands. This follows a press report that Brussels is putting the transaction under “intense” scrutiny.

The market for financial and business information, in which Refinitiv is a major player, was shaken up last summer after LSEG announced that it had agreed to buy Refinitiv. That agreement came less than a year after a consortium led by Blackstone, together with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and GIC, completed a partnership deal with Thomson Reuters for the latter firm’s Financial & Risk business, which was subsequently rebranded as Refinitiv. That consortium owned 55 per cent of the equity in Refinitiv, and Thomson Reuters kept the remaining 45 per cent stake. 

A report in the Financial Times (26 February) said that EU regulators could stretch out the time taken to examine such a deal for longer than the companies expected. The report said that LSEG and Refinitiv are “gearing up for a protracted legal battle”. The report cited unnamed sources.

Refinitiv declined to comment when contacted by this news service. LSEG did not comment on specific details of the FT report. It is understood that the organisation’s deal completion target for the second half of 2020 is unchanged.

When this news service spoke to analysts about the acquisition, they said that the LSEG takeover will give Refinitiv cash to finance development, which should be broadly positive for users such as banks and wealth managers. The agreement also turns up heat on rival vendors such as Bloomberg. Rising competition comes at a time when cost pressures are all too often upwards, partly due to rising regulatory loads stemming from laws such as Europe’s MiFID II or Dodd-Frank in the US.

Refinitiv is a global business. Its sponsorship for this publication’s recent Asia awards event in Singapore and upcoming MENA Awards in Dubai in November 2019 for example, shows its drive to build a global footprint.

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