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London Stock Exchange agrees $27bn takeover of data firm Refinitiv

Edmund Heaphy
·Finance and news reporter
A sign in Paternoster Square outside the London Stock Exchange, as worries over Brexit negotiations have sent the pound tumbling to fresh 31-year lows, but the London market has powered ahead as sterling's woes have buoyed stocks.
A sign outside the London Stock Exchange. Photo: PA

The London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) on Thursday said it had agreed to takeover financial data firm Refinitiv for $27bn (£22bn), in a move that has the potential to transform the group into a rival to Bloomberg.

The all-share deal will see the stock exchange group acquire Refinitiv from private equity giant Blackstone, which owns 55% of the company, and Thomson Reuters, which owns 45%.

Refinitiv is the former financial data division of Thomson Reuters, which owns the Reuters news agency.

While the London Stock Exchange is best known for operating stock exchanges and its derivatives clearing business, the move will see it take control of a company that provides the data and financial markets infrastructure to many trading floors across the world.

It will also see it take control of Refinitiv’s Eikon terminals, which are already a strong competitor to the money-making Bloomberg terminal.

Refinitiv also owns currency trading platform FXall, and has a majority stake in Tradeweb, a rapidly expanding bond trading platform.

“The acquisition of Refinitiv is transformational,” said London Stock Exchange CEO David Schwimmer on Thursday.

“It is a rare and compelling opportunity to combine two world class businesses and create a global financial infrastructure leader. We will continue to be a global business headquartered in the UK.”

Schwimmer pointed to the fact that the purchase would give it an increased presence in the US, which is the world’s biggest financial market, and allow it to expand into Asia and emerging markets.

The group said it would pay for the acquisition by issuing $14.5bn in new shares and by taking on $12.5bn of existing debt.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of next year once it is not held up in an extended anti-trust process.

Regulators in both the European Union and the US are expected to soon launch an in-depth anti-trust review, which could last up to 18 months.

Shares in the London Stock Exchange Group, which is itself listed on the London Stock Exchange, jumped by as much as 7% on Thursday.