Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Two Chinese Bidders for Chicago Exchange Drop Out

  • SEC stalled a decision on whether to approve the deal
  • Trump, some lawmakers have blasted the sale to Chinese firms

Two of the three China-based bidders for the Chicago Stock Exchange have withdrawn from the group trying to acquire the market, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Chongqing Jintian Industrial Co. and Chongqing Longshang Decoration Co. are pulling out of the deal, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations. That leaves Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group Co. plus several U.S. entities in the buyer’s group.

Will Ruben, a spokesman for the exchange at 3Points Communications, declined to comment.

Read More: Chicago Wants to Be a Hub for China Stock Trading

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has stalled a decision on whether to let the deal go through. While staff members at the regulator endorsed the transaction in August, commissioners decided they wanted more time to think about it. Under the SEC’s structure, commissioners can overrule powers granted to staff attorneys to make decisions about the nation’s exchanges.

President Donald Trump railed against the deal on the campaign trail last year. A group including Representative Robert Pittenger, a Republican from North Carolina, and Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, wrote in a recent comment letter that they were troubled by the idea of a Chinese firm owning a U.S. exchange. Their opposition stands in contrast to an approval granted in December by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which reviews the national-security risks of overseas takeovers.

The exchange is seeking to have existing investors increase their stakes, which would require the company to amend its application for the deal to the SEC, according to the person familiar with the matter. Under the current plan, Casin, the group’s lead investor, is trying to buy 20 percent of the company, which handles less than 1 percent of U.S. stock trading. Through the takeover, the Chicago Stock Exchange hopes to transform itself into a venue where Chinese companies can list their shares.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Chongqing Jintian and Chongqing Longshang had withdrawn.

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