London Stock Exchange’s £20bn merger with Refinitiv delayed to 2021

London Stock Exchange’s £20bn merger with Refinitiv is delayed until next year

The London Stock Exchange has admitted that its long-anticipated deal with Refinitiv will be delayed into the new year.

It had hoped to complete the £20billion merger this year, as soon as it got the green light from European competition regulators.

But in a third-quarter update, the LSE said it was now expecting approvals to be delayed until the first quarter of next year.

Delayed: The London Stock Exchange had hoped to complete its £20bn merger with Refinitiv this year, as soon as it got the green light from European competition regulators

It comes just weeks after the LSE agreed to sell Italian stock exchange, Borsa Italiana, to its rival Euronext for £3.9billion, to appease regulators at the European Commission. 

They are worried that a merger of the LSE and Refinitiv will reduce competition and push up prices of the critical data used by global markets.

LSE chief executive David Schwimmer said: ‘We continue to engage constructively with the European Commission and believe the potential divestment of the Borsa Italiana group will contribute significantly to addressing the EU’s competition concerns.’

LSE reported strong numbers for the third quarter. Income rose 2 per cent to £600million, and so far this year is up 6 per cent to £1.8billion.

It has benefited from market volatility as the pandemic has boosted trading activity.

Russell Quelch, an analyst at Redburn, said: ‘LSE has some large client contracts up for renewal before the year-end and it will be important that it is able to continue to show underlying business can grow revenues in advance of the Refinitiv transaction.’

The acquisition of Refinitiv would boost LSE’s position as one of the world’s most influential financial institutions, expanding its reach into data provision. 

Shares in LSE slipped 0.9 per cent, or 78p, to 8438p.