Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearingfloats planthat would combine companies to create global market infrastructure leader
Announcement follows LSE agreement to buy data giant Refinitiv HKEX says that deal must be called off
FTSE 100 advances on mixed day for sterling
Meet the mastermind behind Hong Kongs ?32bn swoop for the London Stock Exchange
Ben Marlow:Hong Kongs bid for the London Stock Exchange will be the biggest test yet for post-Brexit Britain
A quiet morning on the markets today was blown wide open afterHong Kong stock exchange operator HKEX unveiled a surprise ?30bn bid for the London Stock Exchange Group.
The audacious move which comes less than two months after LSE announced plans to tie-up with data giant Refinitiv would be a dramatic twist of fate for the exchange operator if it passes.
LSE chief executive David Schwimmer has been trying to re-position the group as a major player in financial data, to take onsector titan Bloomberg.
Read more | Hong Kong stock exchange tables ?30bn bid for the LSE
After climbing up to 9pc in the aftermath of the bids announcement, LSE shares has stood around 6pc for much of the day suggesting the offer may not have won investors over.
Well bring you the latest details on the proposed deal, as well as other highlights from the worldof business, markets and economics.
Wrap-up: LSE stirred after bolt from the blue
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

LSE shares settle on muted gains after todays news

Heathcliff O'Malley/Sunday Telegraph
To round out a day of excitement, the Treasury has offered this powerful and moving quote on the LSE takeover bid:

The London Stock Exchangeis a critically important part of the UK financial system, so as you would expect, the government and the regulators will be looking at the details closely. We cannot comment further on commercial matters.

That doesnt really tell us anything new, but rounds us out nicely for the day: in short, there are big further questions ahead for the out-of-nowhere takeover deal that has dominated the day.
Its possible LSE may come out with a response tonight, but if they were caught off-guard by the announcement (as seems to have been the case), they may need longer to speak to shareholders.
Thats all from me today. Have a good night, and be sure to follow along again tomorrow, when the ECB bonanza will begin!
Oil price could hit $50 a barrel
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

A global economic slowdown would reduce oil demand, lowering prices

Nick Oxford/REUTERS
Global trade gloom has already put pressure on oil prices but it could get worse. My colleague Julia Bradshaw reports:

One of the worlds biggest oil traders has warned that prices could slip to $50 a barrel over the next six months as the global economy slows and supply rises.
That would represent a 20pc fall in the price of oil and prompt Opec, a group of 14 oil-producing countries led by Saudia Arabia, to cut production in a bid to bolster prices.
I can see us drifting toward $50 in the short term, but I think the medium to long term price is $70 to $75, Ben Luckock, Trafigura's co-head of global oil trading, told Bloomberg.
The comments came as Opec cut its forecast for growth in global oil demand this year and next andlowered its expectations for world economic growth, which it saidhighlighted the need to curb production.
While demand for oil will continue to rise, Opec warned that the market will be in surplus thanks to growing production from US shale oil.
Global oil production is forecast to rise but Opec's output is expected to slip slightly
FTSE 100 leads Europe at close
European markets have now closed, with the FTSE leading risers, aided by a falling pound, but falling short of the 1pc+ gains it reached earlier.
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Bloomberg TV
London Stock Exchange Group closed up about 6pc that doesnt show masses ofconfidence in the deal offer, something which should cheer LSE boss David Schwimmer up.
Shell is dark spot on bright FTSE 100
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Shell is Londons biggest listed firm

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
Barely any shares are down on the FTSE 100 currently, but the two big ones Royal Dutch Shells A and B shares are both dragging on the blue-chip index.
The oil giants shares seem to be suffering from a downgrade to Hold from Buy by HSBC analyst Gordon Gray, and a report in Dutch media that the Netherlands plans to scrap tax deductions for multinationals.
On the latter, Bloomberg reports:

[The] Dutch government will implement a law proposal that seeks to abolish tax deductions for multinationals like Shell, Philips and AkzoNobel, broadcasterNOS writes, citing people familiar with the matter.
Cabinet will take over law proposal from opposition party GroenLinks, according to the people
Law proposal seeks to address cases where multinationals are paying barely or no corporate income tax at all in the Netherlands because they are currently able to deduct losses from subsidiaries abroad
Law planned to be effective as of 2021; may potentially boost Dutch tax receipts by hundreds of millions of euros annually
Sports Direct runs down clock on finding auditor
With no auditor appointed to replace Grant Thornton at todays Sports Direct meeting, time is now ticking for the retailer to find a new company to check its accounts or the Government may have to get involved. The Timess Ashley Armstrong explains:
Sports Direct auditor debacle is all untested & debated but as I understand it: SD has to write to secretary of state within a week to say Gov has the power to intervene after not appointing auditor at AGM. But SoS will not intervene until tender process is completed and flopped. Ashley Armstrong (@AArmstrong_says) September 11, 2019
Wall Street climbs after China eases on tariffs
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump listen to the national anthem during a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

Over in New York, where people are marking the anniversary of 9/11 attacks, stock markets have taken some heart at Chinas announcement early this morning that it would lift tariffs on some categories of goods.
The S&P 500 and Dow are up about 0.2pc, while the Nasdaq is up 0.6pc.
Shares have stayed up in Europe, with a good chunk of weight for a boosted London Stock Exchange Group pushing the blue-chip index over a 1pc gain, ahead of its continental peers.
Spreadexs Connor Campbell says:

Though the FTSE was far and away the days biggest winner, the Eurozone indices still put a solid shift in. Anticipating that Mario Draghi will bestow upon the region a new round of stimulus as his departing present, the DAX and CAC climbed 0.7pc and 0.5pc respectively.
While trade war optimism has been given as a reason to explain Wednesdays gains, it wasnt enough for the Dow Jones to come out of the gates hot. Nevertheless, its meagre 0.2pc rise still pushed it towards 26950, a level last seen at the end of July.
Hereseverything you need to know about the US-China trade war
US China trade war
Sports Direct full statement after AGM
Heres the sportswear retailers full statement following its annual general meeting today:

We remain totally focused on delivering our elevated proposition which, following the AGM, continues to be supported by the investor community.
We are already seeing some exciting milestones with the acquisition of Jack Wills, the opening of the new Flannels flagship store in London and plans for Frasers now in motion.
We are building a young and dynamic executive team to assist in this transition but making sure we retain the core values in the existing business that have allowed the business to prosper over the years.
Mike Ashley was re-elected at the AGM with over 90pc of the vote and the audited accounts for the year ended 28 April 2019 were also approved by over 99pc of shareholders.
How are Britains housebuilders faring?
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Housebuilders fortunes have traditionally been linked to how well the British economy is doing
The investment brains over at Telegraph Money have taken a close look at the UK housebuilding sector, which has seen a fair amount of market action lately. Jonathan Jones writes:

Developers listed on the London markethave materially underperformed the wider market since the Brexit vote in 2016making investors roughly 14.3pc less than half the 29.6pc return from the FTSE All Share index.
Yet some expertsbelieve there is opportunityin the sector. Thisstark underperformance has led to the companies being classed as cheap compared to the rest of the market, making them good value investments.
You can read his full piece looking at Barratt, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Bellway and Redrow here: Housebuilders: which of Britains biggest are worth a buy?
Be informed | Telegraph Money's newsletter
The mastermind behind HKEXs bid for the London Stock Exchange Group
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Charles Li is chief executive of HKEX

The Sunday Telegraphs Business Editor Christopher Williams has taken a close look at Charles Li chief executive of the Hong Kong stock exchange, and the man behind todays ballsy bid to join forces with London. Chris writes:

Li picked a good moment to swoop on the London Metal Exchange, in 2012. Under the Coalition, Britain was forging closer political and financial ties with China.
Lis ?1.4bn takeover of a City institution, home to Europes last open outcry trading floor, was greeted with open arms despite his overt linking of the deal to Beijings commodities and currency policies, which have since become trade war battlefields.
His timing now appear less adroit. Mass protest ear gassing on the streets of Hong Kong is not helpful, Li said last month. As a financial center, trust and confidence are important. In this regard we clearly need to sort this issue out.
You can read his full profile of the bourse bigwig here:Meet Charles Li Xiaojia, the mastermind of Hong Kongs ?32bn swoop for the London Stock Exchange
9pc vote against Mike Ashley re-election at Sports Direct AGM
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley

Nick Ansell/PA
Results from Sports Directs annual general meeting are out, and they show a minor rebellion against Mike Ashleys re-appointment as a direct, with 9pc of investors voting against. Given that Mr Ashley himself holds about 62pc of the companys shares, that may not give the tracksuit tycoon many sleepless nights.
US producer prices picked up in August
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

A factory employee in Hickory, North Carolina

Logan Cyrus/Bloomberg
Some positive news for the US economy: a closely-watched measure of underlying US producer prices (excluding food and fuel) gained some ground last month.
Core producer prices, measuring the cost of goods at the factory gate,increased 2.3pc year-on-year in August. Month-on-month, the figure stood up 0.3pc, after a 0.1pc drop in July.
Costs are up at the factory level, and the core reading suggests that underlying demand is on the rise. Are we in for higher CPI down the line? David Madden (@dmadden_CMC) September 11, 2019
UBS: Surprised if LSE investors prefer HKEX takeover to Refinitiv acquisition
Analysts at Swiss investment giant UBS have offered their perspective on the LSE takeover. They say:

Though few details have been provided, we would be surprised if LSEs Board/shareholders would prefer a HKEx takeover vs. a Refinitiv acquisition
Business Briefing Newsletter REFERRAL (Article)
Their snap take on the deal focuses on the political implications of the deal, and what it would mean for LSE boss David Schwimmers business strategy. Some key quotes:
There are only few instances of cross-continental exchange mergers that have been completed successfully, as nationalistic concerns often arise.
Given the recent transformational announcement by LSE to acquire Refinitiv in early August, made by a CEO just 12-months into his role, we would be surprised to see LSE's management and board prefer a takeover bid from HKEx.
Given the recent business disruptions in Hong Kong, we would argue that this adds to the potential perceived risk of a proposed LSE/HKEx merger.
They have kept the LSE Groups shares at a neutral rating.
Government: Parliament will remain suspended until Supreme Court issues ruling on Tuesday
The Telegraphs political editor Gordon Rayner tweets:
PM spokesman: Parliament remains prorogued. Supreme Court will now rule on the matter on Tuesday and Govt will abide by that decision Gordon Rayner (@gordonrayner) September 11, 2019
Perhaps more significantly in the long term, No10 has again ruled out pact with Brexit Party as senior Co servative source says Nigel Farage and Aaron Banks are not fit and proper persons and should never be allowed anywhere near Govt Gordon Rayner (@gordonrayner) September 11, 2019
Quilter: Political risk makes LSE deal look shaky
More on the LSE takover bid, with shares in group up a mere 5pc currently. Will Howlett, an analyst at Quilter Cheviot says:

There is a long history of consolidation in the market infrastructure space reflecting the ability to extract significant cost synergies on businesses which are inherently scalable. The market infrastructure industry is attractive, reflecting natural monopolies, significant barriers to entry, strong cash generation and high returns on capital. Lower for longer interest rates as well as the collapse in the value of sterling also help with the financing of such deals.
The shares are currently trading c. 15pc below HKEXs proposed bid and we believe this reflects the real risk that politics would disrupt this deal, with the UK losing an industry leader, particularly at a time when Brexit may elevate such sensitivities. Large scale cross border M&A has a patchy track record. For example, we believe the unravelling of the LSE and Deutsche Boerses merger reflected the influence of politicians particularly following the EU referendum result in June 2016.
Things appear to be winding down over at Sports Direct...
But not before I suggested to him maybe it was time for him to sit down with the media to come to an understanding on how best to work together. Heavy media (and police/security) presence remains outside. I wont hold my breath on him taking my suggestion... Simon Neville (@SimonNeville) September 11, 2019
Well have a full report later: as a reminder, shareholder rebellion is almost pointless because Mike Ashley controls the major of the retail groups shares.
Ben Marlow on the LSE bid: the Government should be crawling all over this proposal
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Hong Kong has been wracked by protests in recent months

The TelegraphsChief City Commentator Ben Marlow has weighed in on HKEXs bid for London Stock Exchange Group. He writes: dont have to look hard to see who is pulling the strings at the Hong Kong stock exchange. Chairman Laura Cha is appointed by Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, who has repeatedly faced charges that she is a puppet of Beijing, accusations that have grown louder amid the increasingly violent crackdown on student protesters.
The exchanges boss Charles Li claimed on a conference call with journalists that its seven-year ownership of the London Metal Exchange, during which it had invested in the UK, created jobs, and paid taxes, was proof that it would be a suitable custodian of the Citys crown jewels. No offence to MrLi, but the LME isnt in the same league as the LSE.
You can read his full thoughts here:Hong Kongs bid for the London Stock Exchange will be the biggest test yet for post-Brexit Britain
Round-up: Stobart chair lands Crest Nicholson job, son loses court battle over ?1m inheritance, outrage over UK iPhone costs
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Some are suggesting that the price of the iPhone 11 Pro in the UK is a reflection of the 'Brexit pound'

A veritable and varied smorgasbord of stories today, from across the Business, Money and Tech desks:
Stobart chair Iain Ferguson lands job at Crest Nicholson:Stobart chair Iain Ferguson has been appointed as non-executive chairman of housebuilding company Crest Nicholson, completing an overhaul of the housebuilders top two jobs.
Controlling son loses High Court battle over ?1m inheritance:The controlling and manipulativeson of a former nurse has pointlesslyeroded his inheritance to next to nothing in a failed three-yearlegal battle with his siblingsto challenge his mothers will and secure a larger cut of her ?1m estate.
Outrage after Apple unfairlydemands UK users pay more for the iPhone 11:British consumers have expressed their fury at a price hike on the latest iPhone 11 that means theyre left out of pocket compared to their US counterparts.
The pound is up slightly against the euro, but flat against the dollar. Heres how European stocks stand:
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Bloomberg TV
Look ahead: Can John Lewis turn its fortunes around?
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

The John Lewis store on Oxford Street, London

Kirsty OConnor/PA
Tomorrow, John Lewis and Waitrose (and their respective Partners, presumably) will report on their half-year numbers. As Laura Onita reports, they arent likely to look super healthy. She writes:

If youre curious about the fate of John Lewis and Waitrose, its not good news.
This time last year the partnership, which owns both businesses, admitted its profits were virtually zero. On Thursday it will likely say it is hemorrhaging cash when it updates the City on its half year numbers.
The department store isstubbornly holding on to its never knowingly undersold price pledge, which is at the heart of its problems. Because of it, John Lewis has to follow where distressed rivals such as House of Fraser and Debenhams go with their discount bonanza.

You can read her full report here:Can John Lewis struggle through the retail storm battering the UK high street?
Meanwhile, speaking of the high street, heres more from Mike Ashley...
That would be the ?3,000 customised Nike trainers or the ?2,490 Balmain dress. Another potential faux pas from Ashley but I don't think SD investors are Flannels target audience. Ashley Armstrong (@AArmstrong_says) September 11, 2019
Trump calls for flat or negative interest rates
US President Donald Trump has slammed the Federal Reserve once again, accusing chair Jerome Powell of being naive and demanding there be No Inflation!.
....The USA should always be paying the the lowest rate. No Inflation! It is only the naivete of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesnt allow us to do what other countries are already doing. A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of Boneheads. Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2019
Parsing through the usual economic bluster to that stunning use ofdiaeresis...
Is a copy editor from The New Yorker editing Trump's tweets now? Joe Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) September 11, 2019
HKEX boss Charles Li: LSE deal would be a corporate Romeo and Juliet story
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

HKEX chief executive Charles Li

Justin Chin/Bloomberg
CharlesLi, chief executive of the Hong Kong exchange group bidding for London Stock Exchange Group, has just held a press conference over the phone.
Asked whether a Brexit-weakened sterling motivated the bid, he said: you dont choose timing, you choose whats the right thing to do. The UK will continue to be the global financial centre.
Mr Li said the offer was a vote of confidence in the UK today
He also compared the deal to a corporate Romeo and Juliet story. As so often is the case, the profoundly negative implications of comparing a relationship to Romeo and Juliet have been disregarded in the pursuit of easy metaphor.
Economic Intelligence newsletter SUBSCRIBER (article)
Markets.coms Neil Wilson has called the deal a non-starter. He writes:

Its a bold move and one that appears to have a low chance of success.Given the long and ignoble history of bids for LSE we think there is a very high bar to clear in order for this to succeed. Whilst HKEX already has a foothold in the UK via its ownership of the LME, the LSE is a different ball game entirely.
Political considerations will be front and centre. The UK government may not wish to see such a vital symbol of UK financial services strength, and indeed a strategic asset,to be owned by foreigners; effectively it would hand it over to the Chinese through the Hong Kong back door. For the time being at least the EU also has a say in this. The US will also be eyeing this very, very closely indeed and not liking much at all.
Nut and bolts theres not a mammoth premium here and do you as a LSE shareholder now fancy ditching your LSE stock in favour of a Hong Kong listed share (just 41pcof the new company to boot) which at any moment could be appropriated by Beijing should they so desire? No thanks. Secondly, LSE is all-in on the Refinitiv deal so why would they pull out now for such a gamble? It doesnt make sense. I guess the question now is whether this approach forces others to join the party and spark a bidding war. Not everyone is so warm to the Refinitiv deal as the stock price adjustment suggests a better premium from say a (US) rival could look appealing to shareholders.
In that sense this looks like a last-ditch throw of the dice: Its last orders for LSE bids as it works on its deal to absorb Refinitiv. This ?22bn deal will make the LSE a powerhouse in financial trading and data, and its probably going to become too large for rivals like HKEX to swallow as a result.
It looks like we might be waiting a bit longer for those Sports Direct results... the meeting is still in full flow. Pity the hard-working journalists stuck outside.
One shareholder asks for a presentation at next years AGM. Mike says its not needed we do full year results and half year results. Richard Bottomley disagrees and says its a valid point raised. Simon Neville (@SimonNeville) September 11, 2019
Full report: Hong Kong exchange puts Refinitiv deal on chopping block as it swings for LSE
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

City workers making phone calls outside the London Stock Exchange (photo from 2008)

And heres Harriet Russells full report on the HKEX/LSE takeover story has rather shaken things up this morning. She writes:

The Hong Kong stock exchange has tabled an audacious ?30bn bid for the London Stock Exchange that has sent shockwaves through financial markets, and couldpose a political headache for the Government.
The deal would thwartLSE Groups?22bn mega deal to buy data business Refinitiv, which was unveiled earlier this year.
If completed, the deal would be the largest in HKEX'shistory. It bought the London Metal Exchange for ?1.4bn in 2012.
You can read it all here:Hong Kong exchange looks to smash up LSEs Refinitiv deal with surprise swoop
Sterling unmoved despite prorogation ruling
Glancing briefly into the maelstrom that is live political coverage ofa Scottish courts decision to rule Parliaments suspension unlawful, it seems as though confusion is still reigning:
Activists who brought the case, including @JolyonMaugham, say they lodged it in the Scottish courts as England's High Court wasn't sitting in August. Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) September 11, 2019
No 10 spokesman distances himself from this alleged remark: "The legal activists choose the Scottish Courts for a reason".

[They are keen to avoid a politicising the judges row]

Says it will all be decided in Supreme Court next week Sam Coates Sky (@SamCoatesSky) September 11, 2019
Heres the key bit of the Scottish court ruling: Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) September 11, 2019
The news has had little impact on sterling so far. Thats potentially because even if the ruling is carried though and Parliament is recalled, it doesnt make a lot of practical difference: Boris Johnsons bid for a General Election has been quashed for now, and only actual Brexit developments are likely to shape the mood on the markets.
Ashleys audit headache
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Sports Direct is owned by billionaire Mike Ashley

Leonhard Foeger/REUTERS
For those readers who dont passionately keep up-to-date with the audit market, here is a quick summary of the Sports Direct bean-counterimbroglio, via Harriet Russell:

The retail chain, founded by billionaire Mike Ashley, isscramblingto avoid a possible suspension of its shares from the London Stock Exchange if it fails to find a new adviser.
The company has tapped a number of mid-tier firms about a possible tender process, after the Big Four accountancy firmsPwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY were understood to have turned down the work.
Mazars and MHA MacIntyre were both said to have taken part in recent conversations with the company.
Read more:Sports Direct taps smaller firms for help in race to find an auditor
Sparks fly over lack of dividend payouts at Sports Direct AGM
Inside Sports Directs annual general meeting, things are getting heated over the companys lack of payouts to investors.
Getting feisty. Shareholder responds: 10 years you havent paid a dividend. Its a disgrace. I shant be voting for the re-election of the Directors who dont own shares. Simon Neville (@SimonNeville) September 11, 2019
On the topic of auditors, it looks like there is not much movement:
Only line on auditors we are in the middle of a process. Well share the outcome. Asked whether SD will have an auditor after today, the board wont answer. Grant Thornton have not stood for re-election Simon Neville (@SimonNeville) September 11, 2019
As a reminder,journalists are banned from the meeting. So if youre wondering how Simon Neville, City Editor of the Press Association, wrangled a place:
Companies don't have to let journalists in - but by tradition do. Sports Direct have said no, luckily Simon owns one share Richard Fletcher (@fletcherr) September 11, 2019
Quick wrap: Surprise bid jolts LSE shares
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

The central atrium of the London Stock Exchange (photo from 2016)

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX)has tabled a shock ?29.6bn offer for the London Stock Exchange Group, which operates Britains best-known bourses.
Here are the key points so far:
HKEX believes the merger would create a global market infrastructure leader
The offer would be contingent on LSE dropping its plans to merge with data giant Refinitiv
The offer values LSE at ?83.61 a share a 22.9pc premium on Tuesdays closing price representing a deal value of ?29.6bn, and enterprise value of ?31.6bn
HKEX will make a secondary listing on the LSE if the deal goes ahead
LSE says it will consider the proposal and then respond, but insisted it remains committed to merging with Refinitiv
Both companies have been involved in major merger activity in recent years
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the UK would look very carefully at anything about the deal that had security implications for the UK
LSE shares initially surged to an all-time high, but have now settled around 6pc up.
LSE will make announcement in due course
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

David Schwimmer (centre), chief executive of LSE Group

Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg
London Stock Exchange Group has offered its response (essentially saying it intends to respond later, and is still planning to press ahead with its Refinitiv merger). It says:

The Board of London Stock Exchange Group plc (LSEG) notes the announcement from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) and confirms that HKEX has made an unsolicited, preliminary and highly conditional proposal to acquire the entire share capital of LSEG (the Proposal).
The Board of LSEG will consider this Proposal and will make a further announcement in due course.
LSEG remains committed to and continues to make good progress on its proposed acquisition of Refinitiv Holdings Ltd as announced on 1 August 2019. A circular is expected to be posted to LSEG shareholders in November 2019 to seek their approval of the transaction.
New Look cuts losses as restructuring continues
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Like-for-like sales, which exclude shops opened this year, tumbled 10pc for the three months to the end of June at New Look

Elsewhere in the world of retail this morning, New Look posted a mixed set of results which included lower losses, but also a slump in sales and revenue. Retail correspondent Laura Onita reports:

The struggling fashion chain,which has almost 500 UK stores, blamed the weather from keeping shoppers away from its stores as well as ageneral sentiment of uncertainty, which means customers have been spending less on clothes and shoes.
Like-for-like sales, which exclude shops opened this year, tumbled 10pc for the three months to the end of June, although they recently turned positive, the company said, trading up 2.2pc. Losses narrowed to ?2.7m from ?15.5m this time last year while revenues slumped to ?258m from ?300m a year ago.
You can read her full report here:New Look vows to attack the futureas sales slump continues
Meanwhile, over at Sports Direct...
Sports Direct AGM. Im in. Waiting to start... kicks off 11am. My esteemed colleagues are locked out Simon Neville (@SimonNeville) September 11, 2019
Well find out more about exactly what goes down at the meeting after 11am (assuming the company can stick to its timetable this time).
LSE: A biddable company...
London Stock Exchange's tumultuous history of bids a quick reminder of just how many takeover offers the LSE has recieved, my colleaguesHarriet RussellandVinjeru Mkandawirewrote in August:

Some City analysts reckon LSE has been subject to a takeover or merger approach, on average, every two and a half years since floating in 2000 from at least five separate companies, including the ICE. Given the current strength of businesses such as clearing house LCH and FTSE Russell, analysts believe theres a one-in-three chance a separate bid will emerge for LSE as a standalone company, before it becomes too large to buy.

Their full piece (which is a must-read to understand the wider context of this deal) can be read here:
David vs Goliath: London Stock Exchanges $27bn swoop on Refinitiv pits it against Bloomberg
LSE shares have shed some of their initial gains, and are now up just over 6pc. They hit an all-time high earlier, but are now a little lower than where they stood last week, after some selling-off on Tuesday.
It's not a company I play close attention to, so hadn't realised just how good an investment London Stock Exchange had been. It's up 900% over the last 10yrs. Mike Bird (@Birdyword) September 11, 2019
Ben Wright: Takeover offer is fighting the weight of history
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

The have been numerous bids for the LSE in recent years

Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images Europe
TelegraphBusiness Editor Ben Wright has offered his snap take on HKEXs audacious grab for the LSE:

Few companies have as many stakeholders as a stock exchange. All will want a say. Few will agree.
HKEX is fighting the weight of history. I dont have enough fingers to count the number of failed takeovers of, and mergers involving, the LSE down the years.
The LSE has only just agreed a $27bn merger with data group Refinitiv, making it one of the largest financial and trading data companies in the world. It's going to want time to swallow and digest that deal before moving on to another monster transaction.
Few companies can really be described as strategic. But theres a good argument that stock exchanges are. That means that politicians are going to want to get involved.
Is the British government prepared to have a strategic financial asset effectively owned by the Chinese?
Even if was prepared to have a strategic financial asset effectively owned by the Chinese, is it comfortably with a deal happening now, as protests in Hong Kong reach fever pitch?
The UK is currently still a member of the European Union. The LSE is therefore also a strategic European financial assets and Brussels is likely to get involved.
It is not hard to imagine Donald Trump demanding that the UK blocks the takeover as a precondition to any future US-UK free trade agreement.
Have to agree with @_BenWright_ this looks far-fetched. Stranger things happen, but the hurdles seem clear and plenty. Harriet Russell (@harrietrussell) September 11, 2019
LSE caught unaware by HKEX announcement
Snapping back to London, Harriett Russell has the latest on HKEXs shock-and-awe offer for the London Stock Exchange Group, who were caught off-guard by announcement. She reports:

Its a decline to comment from the LSE with sources telling me the exchange was unaware of Hong Kongs planned announcement.
Also breaking: Scottish court rules prorogation of Parliament is unlawful
Its all kicking off now. Over in Scotland, an appeals court has ruled Boris Johnsons suspension of parliament is unlawful. Implementation will not occur until the UK Supreme Court makes a ruling on the issue next week. The Government will appeal the ruling.
Get the latesthere:Brexit latest news: Scottish court rules Boris Johnson broke law by proroguing Parliament
LSE would have to drop Refinitiv offer for deal to pass
A crucial part of HKEXs announcement is itsdemand that LSE withdraws plans to merge with data giant Refinitiv.
The planned LSE/Refinitiv merger would place the company in competition with Bloomberg in the lucrative financial data space.
Read more:David vs Goliath: London Stock Exchanges $27bn swoop on Refinitiv pits it against Bloomberg
HKEX says:

The Proposed Transaction, whether implemented by way of a scheme of arrangement or takeover offer, would be subject to, amongst other things:
a resolution in respect of the approval of the Refinitiv transaction having been voted on and not approved by the LSEG shareholders; or the Refinitiv transaction being terminated, lapsing, being withdrawn or not proceeding for any other reason; in each case by 31 December 2019 or such later date as HKEX may determine;
My colleague Harriet Russell reports:

Sources in Hong Kong said the deal had been in the works for a number of months but was catalysedby LSEs Refinitiv announcement last month.
The deal is only expected to proceed if LSE takes the Refinitiv deal off the table altogether.
In August, City analysts said they would not be surprised to see the LSE receive takeover offers of its own in the wake of the Refinitiv announcement as potential suitors looked to snap up the London-based exchange before it got too big to buy
Merger would redefine global capital markets for decades to come
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Charles Li, HKEX boss

Charles Li, HKEXs chief executive said:

Bringing HKEX and LSEG together will redefine global capital markets for decades to come. Both businesses have great brands, financial strength and proven growth track records. Together, we will connect East and West, be more diversified and we will be able to offer customers greater innovation, risk management and trading opportunities. A combined group will be strongly placed to benefit from the dynamic and evolving macroeconomic landscape, whilst enhancing the long-term resilience and relevance of London and Hong Kong as global financial centres.
HKEXs proposal
All the noise we have on this is from theHong Kong Exchanges and Clearing side. They say the proposal would:
Create a world-leading market infrastructure group with a global footprint, diversified across asset class, ideally positioned to benefit from the evolving global macroeconomic landscape, connecting the established financial markets in the West with the emerging financial markets in the East, particularly in China;
Elevate the UKs role in capturing the significant growth opportunities presented by Mainland China's continuing internationalisation and the emergence of RMB as a global reserve currency, securing Londons position as the global centre for both Eurodollar and offshore RMB;
Reinforce Hong Kongs position as the key connection between Mainland China, Asia and the rest of the world, providing a trusted and clear path for the continued opening up of Mainland China's capital markets and for the investment of Asia's growing wealth;
Enable the creation of unique and valuable data sets for global investors, through the combination of LSEG's global data and analytics capabilities and distribution channels, and HKEXs access to China, the worlds most digitalised growth economy;
Enhance global capital formation by making it easier for companies to access equity capital across the world, through the IPO and secondary fundraising markets in London, Hong Kong, Milan, and Mainland China via the Connect programmes; and
Offer innovation opportunities in equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities and derivatives products with domestic, regional and global relevance; allow for the application of best-in-class technologies in multiple markets and platforms; and help strengthen transparency, resiliency and risk capabilities in both London and Hong Kong.
Snap reaction: not going to happen. Ben Wright (@_BenWright_) September 11, 2019
A London Stock Exchange - Hong Kong Exchanges merger would be a bold move. One of course is at the heart of an ageing financial centre struggling with a larger and more powerful neighbor, in a moment of acute political crisis, and the other is Hong Kong. Mike Bird (@Birdyword) September 11, 2019
NEW: Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing tables ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange Group
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Financial market figures are shown on big screens and a ticker in the main entrance at London Stock Exchange

Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images Europe
Just weeks after London Stock Exchange announced its acquisition of data business Refinitiv, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), which operates the stock market and futures market in Hong Kong, has thrown its hat in the ring to snap up the LSE, in a deal which could be worth close to ?30bn (Harriet Russell writes).
HKEX intends to apply for a secondary listing of its shares on the LSE, should the deal complete, which it said demonstrated its commitment to the UK.
In August, LSE agreed to buy financial information provider Refinitiv in a $27bn (?22bn) deal aimed, to establish itself as a credible rival to Bloomberg.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom happened to be on Bloomberg TV as the news broke. She said theUK welcomes foreign investment but would look very carefully at anything that had security implications for the UK.
HKEX said:

LSEG and HKEX are two of the world's premier market infrastructure businesses, which together would offer unique potential to enhance and capture global capital and data flows. The proposed combination would strengthen both businesses, better position them to innovate across markets and geographies, and offer market participants and investors unprecedented global market connectivity.

LSE shares have surged by nearly 9pc on the new:
Sports Direct prepares for annual general meeting. Not on the invite list: journalists
Hong Kong exchange tables shock ?30bn bid for London Stock Exchange: as it happened

Mike Ashley, owner of Sports Direct

Kirsty O'Connor/PA
Today will mark another twist in the saga of Sports Direct one that has recently included investors being left in the lurchby repeated delay to the retailers market update.
Journalists have been banned from the event, so it is likely we wont hear what occurs at the gathering of shareholders until after 11am.
Just been told Sports Direct is banning all media from its AGM tomorrow.
Never a good look when a company shuts out journalists. What happened to its very open promise in 2016? Mind you very prudent and very compliant also in question... Ashley Armstrong (@AArmstrong_says) September 10, 2019
Boss Mike Ashley is facing calls to step down following the companys update fiasco during the summer, which culminated in its revealing it had been hit by a ?605m tax bill by Belgian authorities.
Its also on the hunt ofr a new auditor, as it struggles to find a bean-counter willing to take on its increasingly-complicated accounts.
Section 490 which says where an auditor is not appointed the Secretary of State (at BEIS) may appoint one, and determine remuneration. Also the company must let the SoS know within a week that the power is exercisable. Otherwise both the company and its officers commit an offence PIRC (@PIRC_news) September 11, 2019
The company structure has grown ever-more byzantine in recent years, as Mr Ashley buys up more and more high street brands.
Mike Ashley's business empire
Heres a reminder of how things went down during its delay saga in July:
Sports Direct results delays
Telegraph Chief City Commentator Ben Marlow has weighed in on the saga today, comparing Sports Direct with ri
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