TORONTO (Reuters) - The group bidding for TMX Group (X.TO), Canada's biggest financial exchange operator, has extended for a fifth time the deadline for shareholders to accept its C$3.8 billion ($3.8 billion) takeover plan.
Maple Group, a consortium of 13 financial institutions, on Friday set a new deadline of March 30.
Maple's takeover of TMX, operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange and other markets, would put the bulk of the country's equity trading, clearing and settlement services under one roof.
The enlarged group would include the Canadian Depository for Securities, which clears and settles trades in Canada, as well as Alpha Group, which is the TSX's biggest competitor.
In a statement, both parties affirmed their commitment to the C$50-a-share deal, TMX's board recommends that shareholders accept the offer and tender their shares.
The entities are in discussions with regulators and have made numerous submissions to them in order to obtain necessary approvals. The deal must get the blessing from Canada's Competition Bureau, as well as four provincial securities regulators, including the Ontario Securities Commission.
The two parties have until April 30 to gain approvals. After that date, they can walk away from the deal or agree to extend the deadline.
Maple first proposed the takeover in May 2011, and soon trumped a friendly offer from the London Stock Exchange (LSE.L). LSE abandoned its bid after it failed to win enough shareholder support, and the TMX board later agreed to back the Maple offer.
Reporting By Jennifer Kwan and Pav Jordan; Editing by Frank McGurty