Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC), Canada’s largest insurer, joined a group of Canadian banks and pension funds seeking to buy TMX Group Inc. (X), owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
Manulife approached the Maple Group Acquisition Corp. to be part of its C$3.58 billion ($3.68 billion) unsolicited bid for TMX Group, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks aren’t public. The Maple Group, whose members include Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), National Bank of Canada (NA) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, has said it would “welcome” other investors to counter the sale of TMX to London Stock Exchange Group Plc. (LSE)
Maple Group is “talking to a number of participants in the financial-services industry,” said Peter Block, a spokesman for the bidding group. He declined to comment on Manulife. Laurie Lupton, a spokeswoman for the Toronto-based insurer, also declined to comment.
Maple may have been concerned that there wasn’t enough diversification under the current structure among pension funds and banks, said Edward Ditmire, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in New York, who rates TMX Group shares “neutral.”
“By broadening the ownership group to include more companies and more different types of companies, it might allay some of those concerns,” said Ditmire.
Direct to Investors
Maple approached TMX on May 13 with a proposal to buy the Canadian exchange owner for C$48 a share in cash and stock. TMX rejected the offer, saying it wasn’t superior to its Feb. 9 agreement with LSE. Maple responded by taking its offer directly to TMX shareholders.
The bids for TMX are part of more than $30 billion in takeover offers for exchanges within six months, as bourses try to cut costs and generate more revenue from trading in stocks, options and futures.
Maple Group’s other investors are Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Alberta Investment Management Corp., and Fonds de Solidarite FTQ.
TMX shareholders would hold 40 percent of the new company under the Maple bid, with the pension funds owning 35 percent and the banks 25 percent, Maple Interim Chief Executive Officer Luc Bertrand proposed in a May 13 letter to the TMX.
Other firms in talks to join Maple include Dundee Capital Markets Inc., GMP Capital Inc., and Desjardins Financial Group, Dow Jones reported yesterday.
Manulife fell 19 cents to C$16.07 at the 4 p.m. close of trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. TMX Group declined 54 cents to C$44.09.
To contact the reporter on this story: Doug Alexander in Toronto at email@example.com