Regulator to ask if TMX-LSE deal in public interest

Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:11pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Solarina Ho and Pav Jordan

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Ontario Securities Commission will assess whether the London Stock Exchange's proposed takeover of TMX Group is in "the public interest," a concept that even the head of the OSC says is hard to define.

OSC Chair Howard Wetston on Wednesday said he could not say what specific metrics the OSC would use to assess the merits of the deal, which would combine the operators of the Toronto and London stock exchanges into a $7 billion transatlantic power.

"I can't define 'public interest' but I sure know it when I see it," Wetston said in a speech in Toronto.

Under provincial law, the public interest includes protecting investors from fraud, unfair practices and promoting integrity and confidence in the capital markets.

The proposed deal - one of three major exchange mergers under review globally - has met with growing opposition in Ontario, home province of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and opposition parties in the legislature are questioning how the transaction would affect the province and the country.

Duncan has set up an all-party legislative committee to conduct its own review and issue a report by April 7.

"Will Canadian companies continue to have access to capital markets, how good will it be, how expensive will it be to list, will we maintain a critical mass of the support that goes into a stock market?" Duncan asked on Wednesday when speaking to reporters.   Continued...