Maple extends C$3.8 billion bid for Canada's TMX Group

Thu May 31, 2012 4:44pm EDT
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By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian consortium of financial institutions bidding for the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange extended its offer for an eighth time on Thursday and said it was confident it would complete the deal by its July 31 deadline because the process cannot drag on indefinitely.

Prolonging the C$3.8 billion ($3.68 billion) bid to buy TMX Group Inc (X.TO: Quote), Maple Group said the extension will allow for the regulatory approvals needed for its ambitious plan that would transform Canada's stock trading landscape.

Luc Bertrand, Maple's key spokesman and vice chairman of National Bank Financial, said he is very confident the year-long deal process will be finalized over the next two months given support from Canada's financial and investing community.

"I think everybody has a responsibility to complete the work and get it done and so, no, it can't go on and on and on," Bertrand said in a response to a question on whether the deal would be further extended.

"That's just not fair to shareholders at one point. I think everybody understands that obligation... We're very confident we'll be able to complete it by then."

Maple, which comprises most of Canada's biggest banks as well as pension funds, Canada's largest insurer and other financial groups, wants to combine TMX with bank-owned Alpha Group, Canada's second-biggest stock trading venue.

It also wants to wrap in the Canadian Depository for Securities Ltd, the clearing system for securities trades.

Bertrand said the proposed regulatory oversight of the combined entity will provide "ironclad protection" for the investing public and dealers outside the Maple Group.   Continued...