London Stock Exchange merges with Italian bourse

LONDON, June 23, 2007 (AFP) – The London Stock Exchange confirmed Saturday it was buying Milan’s Borsa Italiana for 1.6 billion euros (2.15 billion dollars) in shares, bolstering the LSE amid takeovers of European stock markets by US rivals. The industry’s globalisation has been accelerated by a move towards electronic trading platforms and away from raucous trading floors. Borsa Italiana shareholders will receive 4.90 LSE Group plc ordinary shares for each existing Borsa Italiana ordinary share, and hold 28 percent of the capital of the new group, the two bourses said in a joint statement.

Based on LSE share prices and euro/pound exchange rates for June 19, the offer values Borsa Italiana at 1.634 billion euros. The combined group would be worth 5.777 billion euros.

Ansa news agency reported Friday that the Milan stock exchange had given its backing to the proposed merger and the Italian government had welcomed the deal, but it had still to be officially confirmed by both markets.

The merger must still be approved by shareholders of both bourses and receive the green light from competition regulators in Italy, Britain and the European Union.

LSE Group plc will be the holding company of the combined group and, in addition