IT HAD been billed as a bridge between Europe’s two main financial hubs. It has become, however, a symbol of their growing competition—and of the uncertainty into which Brexit has plunged the EU’s markets. A planned merger between Deutsche Börse (DB) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE), both listed companies, seems on the verge of collapse. This week the LSE rejected the latest demand of the European Commission (EC) to sell parts of its business to allay competition concerns.
The €29bn ($30bn) merger was first announced a year ago and is the companies’ third attempt to join forces since 2000. It brings together the operators of the British, German and Italian stock exchanges, as well as some of the largest clearing-houses in Europe. Before it would approve the deal, the EC launched an investigation into its impact on competition. Last September it identified a number of concerns, including about the derivatives market once the clearing-houses merged. In early February the LSE sought to ease that concern by confirming the sale of its Paris-based clearing unit, LCH.
Not good enough, the EC countered a few weeks later: the sale…Continue reading