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UPDATE 2-LSE board reviewing Borsa Italiana bids on Thursday -sources

Thu, 17th Sep 2020 09:04

(Recasts, adds context)

By Pamela Barbaglia, Valentina Za and Tom Sims

LONDON/MILAN/FRANKFURT, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The London Stock
Exchange will review offers valuing Borsa Italiana at up to 4
billion euros ($4.7 billion) at a Thursday board meeting, three
sources familiar with the matter said.

The sale, dubbed "Project Botticelli", puts the Milan bourse
at the centre of the latest shake-up in the European exchange
sector, with non-binding bids from France's Euronext,
Switzerland's Six and Germany's Deutsche Boerse.

Sources said Six has made the highest offer for Borsa, which
the LSE bought in 2007 for 1.6 billion euros.

"The LSE is in no rush to take a decision. There are many
stakeholders that LSE needs to please, including EU antitrust
regulators and Italian lawmakers," one of the sources said.

The LSE, which declined to comment, is trying to sell Borsa
Italiana as part of regulatory remedies needed to clear its $27
billion acquisition of data provider Refinitiv.

Refinitiv is 45% owned by Thomson Reuters,
which is the parent company of Reuters News.

Euronext, which has made the lowest bid, has teamed up with
Italian state-owned lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) whose
backing is key to selling the deal to lawmakers in Rome.

'GOLDEN POWER'

Italy's Treasury can block any unwanted takeover of Borsa
using its "golden power" legislation.

Rome is also keen to have a tight grip on Borsa's MTS
platform, which is used for trading Italy's huge sovereign debt
and is seen as being of strategic importance, sources have said.

Both Six and Deutsche Boerse are trying to lure Rome away
from Euronext and have offered Italian officials guarantees on
governance as well as representation on their respective boards.

In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Six CEO Jos
Dijsselhof said it was ready to offer a governance structure
that took into account Italy's interests in both Borsa and MTS.

Deutsche Boerse has offered to buy Borsa Italiana in tandem
with Italian investors and would give Rome a seat on its
supervisory board, sources have said.

The German exchange is prepared to enter a joint venture
with Italian investors that could hold up to 49% of Borsa while
Deutsche Boerse will have a controlling stake of about 51%.

It would also grant Italian investors majority control of
MTS should the LSE decide to sell it separately.
($1 = 0.8483 euros)
(Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London, Valentina Za in Milan
and Tom Sims in Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Elvira
Pollina in Milan and Mike Shields in Zurich; Editing by
Alexander Smith)

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