LSE boss attacks US rivals over takeover bid

London-Stock-Exchange-Logo-700.jpgLondon Stock Exchange chief executive Xavier Rolet has launched an attack on his US rivals saying he will prevent any attempted takeover of the group.

Speaking to City AM, Rolet says he does “not want to make the same mistake” as other European exchanges which have been taken over in recent years.

His comments come a day after it was reported that InterContinental Exchange, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, secured funding from a group of American and Asian banks as it plots a £10bn bid for the LSE. The bid will challenge the proposed £21bn merger between LSE and Deutsche Boerse.

Rolet says: “I don’t want the LSE ever again to be on the receiving end of a hostile takeover… takeovers [where] you come in, you get what you want, you chuck out the rest – this is not what this is about.”

“I know Euronext [an exchange bought by ICE] is going around, and the French government, and some regulators [saying]: ‘Side with ICE, this way we can break up the LSE, so Euronext can buy back Borsa Italiana, can buy back Clearnet, and recreate [something].’ Look, they’ve missed [the boat] – they’ve sold out to the Americans, they have nothing left. We don’t want to make the same mistake.

“What are we going to tell the next generation of entrepreneurs? ‘The only way to fund a high growth business is to go to Nasdaq, or go to San Francisco’?”

Rolet argues the ongoing merger with Deutsche Boerse is in London’s best interests and that the tie-up would be more compliant with European regulations.

The European Securities and Markets Authority said yesterday that new rules on clearing houses could come in from 2018, which will promote open access systems.

Open access systems means a market user who trades on one exchange is allowed to clear that trade at a clearing house or central counterparty owned by someone else.

LSE said the merger with Deutsche Boerse would not affect its commitment to open access in the derivatives market.

He says: “When I look at the deal that’s present here [with Deutsche Boerse]… it’s not just that it meets the systemic test, it is compliant with European law.

“Which, by the way, you will recall companies – like the companies saying they may have an interest in us – publicly wrote that they were against. Who signed the letters that were against open access in Europe? ICE, LME, Euronext – effectively several ICE companies – so some of these companies have basically made their position clear: they didn’t like the open access model.”