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Australia’s Shorten Doesn’t See Case for Changing ASX Cap

Australian Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten said rules on foreign ownership in ASX Ltd., the country’s main exchange operator, didn’t sink Singapore Exchange Ltd.’s bid and they don’t need revision.

“I don’t see the case for changing it at this point,” Shorten said today in Canberra, referring to the 15 percent cap on foreign investors in ASX. “This whole issue of ownership comes down to the future of the ASX.”

The government’s April 8 rejection of Singapore Exchange’s bid came as pressure increased on rival exchanges to attract global capital by consolidating. This year, Europe’s Deutsche Boerse AG and NYSE Euronext agreed to merge, while London Stock Exchange Group Plc said it would buy Canada’s TMX Group Inc.

Treasurer Wayne Swan in April said he was “open to the right deal” if it came along and asked the Council of Financial Regulators to examine ways to protect the integrity of the financial system should another bid emerge.

“I don’t think the 15 percent foreign ownership issue is the reason why the ASX-SGX merger fell over,” Shorten said. “We have no objection in principle to mergers, but the deal has got to be a good deal.”

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