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LSE-LCH.Clearnet Deal Was Regulatory Tug-Of-War, EU Report Shows

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- London Stock Exchange Group Plc’s takeover bid for LCH.Clearnet Group Ltd. was at the center of a tug-of-war between European antitrust regulators last year with the U.K. successfully fending off French requests for a European Union review.

The U.K.’s Office of Fair Trading opposed requests by France, Spain and Portugal for an EU merger investigation into the deal, the European Commission said in a document published on its website today. The Brussels-based EU authority said it ruled out taking on the deal because of the U.K. stance and the advanced stage of talks between British regulators and the companies.

LSE, operator of Europe’s oldest independent stock exchange, in December won U.K. antitrust approval to buy a stake in the region’s biggest clearinghouse. LSE originally offered 20 euros a share for as much as 60 percent of LCH.Clearnet, valuing the clearinghouse at 813 million euros ($1.1 billion). It cut that bid to 15 euros a share amid concern European regulations will force LCH.Clearnet to boost capital by 300 million euros to 375 million euros.

IntercontinentalExchange Inc. said earlier this week that it wanted the EU to take charge of its bid for NYSE Euronext to avoid multiple probes across the 27-nation bloc.

While ICE must formally ask U.K., Spanish and Portuguese regulators for permission to buy NYSE Euronext for cash and stock worth $8.2 billion, it said it will ask for the EU to rule on the transaction.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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