TORONTO (Reuters) - The bank-led group bidding for the owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange has applied for regulatory approval of its C$3.8 billion ($3.7 billion) hostile offer, kicking off what could be a lengthy process before the various regulators give it a green light.
The Maple Group, a consortium group of 13 Canadian financial institutions and pension funds, said on Friday it had submitted applications to regulators in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia tied to its bid for TMX Group (X.TO).
Approval from each, as well as from the federal Competition Bureau - which will rule after the regulators have done so - is needed for the takeover to go ahead.
"We are moving forward with our offer, our discussions with TMX Group are ongoing and we remain confident we can obtain all necessary regulatory approvals by early 2012," Luc Bertrand, vice-chairman of Maple member National Bank of Canada (NA.TO), said on behalf of the consortium.
TMX Chief Executive Tom Kloet has not ruled out a friendly deal, but has said such a move is only possible if regulators support the takeover.
In separate statements, Quebec's Autorite des Marches Financiers, and the Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia Securities Commissions said they had launched month-long public consultations on the deal.
The Ontario and Quebec regulators are expected to hold public hearings in November or December.
TMX shares have been on the defensive since late July and closed at C$40.15 on Friday, well below Maple's C$50-per-share bid.
Maple recently extended the deadline for TMX shareholders to tender to the bid to October 31. It launched the offer in May in response to a friendly proposal from the London Stock Exchange (LSE.L).
The LSE's offer failed to gather enough shareholder support in the face of Maple's competing offer.
Editing by Peter Galloway and Janet Guttsman