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Hong Kong’s pursuit of the London Stock Exchange ends in tears

FEW BOURSES have been wooed as often as the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE). It has been the target of a bid every two and a half years on average since going public in 2000, according to Berenberg, a bank. All have failed, including the latest, a ?32bn ($39bn) offer from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) in September that would have created the world’s second-largest exchange group by market value (behind America’s CME Group). On October 8th HKEX called the whole thing off.Charles Li, HKEX’s boss, styled himself as a Romeo to the LSE’s Juliet, and held out the prospect of a tie-up between East and West. HKEX is China’s main gateway to Western capital markets. It offered a 23% premium to the LSE’s share price. But the LSE’s shareholders wanted more, and a greater share of cash, at which point HKEX’s shareholders reportedly balked.
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