TORONTO (Reuters) - TMX Group is now in talks with a Canadian consortium whose hostile bid for the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange scuppered a friendly combination with the London Stock Exchange, a government official said on Wednesday.
Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan told Canada's Financial Post newspaper that discussions between TMX and Maple Group Acquisition Corp were underway. He said he did not know the nature of the talks or whether any progress had been made.
Duncan had been a vocal critic of the LSE proposal. Like other opponents, he raised concerns over London gaining control over Canadian capital markets and the prospect of Toronto losing its status as a financial center.
Maple Group became the only bidder late last month after the LSE's proposal collapsed because it could not secure the backing of two-thirds of TMX shareholders.
Maple, whose 13 members include four of Canada's six biggest banks and five pension funds, needs 70 percent of TMX investors to tender their shares by August 8 for its C$3.8 billion ($3.94 billion) offer to go ahead.
Luc Bertrand, chief representative of Maple and vice-chairman of National Bank of Canada, had indicated that Maple believes its bid will carry the day as it stands.
"This is as strong a bid as you can possibly imagine, so we're very comfortable with our proposal and we think it's fair to shareholders," he told Reuters in an exclusive interview last week.
Representatives of TMX and Maple could not be reached immediately for comment on the Financial Post story.
Reporting by Frank McGurty; editing by Carol Bishopric