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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Maple Group consortium of Canadian financial institutions has extended its takeover bid for Canada's largest stock market operator for a second time as it awaits regulatory rulings that could still be months away.
Maple, made up of four of Canada's largest banks, four top pension funds and one of North America's largest life insurers, said on Thursday, a day before its bid was set to expire, that it had extended its hostile C$3.8 billion ($3.65 billion) offer for TMX Group (X.TO) to October 31.
The consortium also said it was continuing to work toward obtaining regulatory approvals for the C$50 per share bid for TMX, operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
TMX shares rose 2.24 percent after Maple's announcement and closed at C$40.54 on the Toronto exchange.
The extension is the second since Maple officially made its bid on June 13, originally in an effort to thwart a friendly takeover offer for TMX by the London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) that many saw as a threat to Toronto's growing clout as a financial center.
It may not be the last time Maple will have to extend as the consortium has made it clear from the start that it wants shareholders to have regulatory clarity before they are asked to tender their shares.
TMX Group declined to comment.
"Right now shareholders would be depositing without any certainty that the transaction is going to get done," said a source with knowledge of the situation.
Maple's offer needs to pass muster with provincial securities regulators and the federal Competition Bureau in separate processes that are not likely to culminate until at least November or December.
At the provincial level, securities regulators will have to invite the public to comment, and the federal Competition Bureau probably won't rule until after the provincial process is complete.
Behind the scenes, Maple is working to persuade authorities that the deal, including plans to merge Canada's biggest alternative exchange, Alpha Group, into the TMX, is in the best interest of investors and the broader market.
"The Competition Bureau will be faced with balancing whether a buyout would be anti-competitive in a broad and serious way versus the efficiencies brought in by having a well-capitalized owner bring in and consolidate Alpha and CDS within it," said Chris Damas, an independent analyst and a shareholder in the TMX Group.
Reporting by Pav Jordan and John McCrank; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Peter Galloway