ICE shelves plans for London bourse counter bid

Wed May 4, 2016 1:45pm EDT
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By Noor Zainab Hussain and Richa Naidu

LONDON/BENGALURU (Reuters) - The New York Stock Exchange's owner has shelved plans to make a counterbid for London Stock Exchange (LSE.L: Quote) that could have derailed the British firm's planned merger with Deutsche Boerse.

Intercontinental Exchange Inc's (ICE.N: Quote) CEO Jeffrey Sprecher accused the LSE of failing to respond to the U.S. group's approaches despite several attempts to arrange meetings. As a consequence, ICE did not have enough information to make a formal offer, he told reporters on Wednesday.

The LSE disputed this account. It responded with a statement that it had provided ICE with information and access to management. The U.S. exchange had not approached it with a possible proposal, it said.

LSE's shares fell as much 10 percent following ICE's announcement before recovering to close down 4.2 percent, whilst Deutsche Boerse rose 6 percent and ICE jumped 8.2 percent at the New York open.

The LSE announced plans to merge with Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE: Quote) in February, prompting ICE to say a week later that it was considering its own bid.

"Following our public expression in March of interest under the UK takeover code, the LSE chairman and CEO did not engage with ICE," Sprecher said on a conference call.

"We're turning our focus to other opportunities to build on our track record of growth."

Some London Stock Exchange Group investors said they were annoyed at the company's apparent refusal to entertain ICE's approach.   Continued...

A worker shelters from the rain as he passes the London Stock Exchange in the City of London at lunchtime October 1, 2008.  REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo