London Stock Exchange in talks to combine with Refinitiv: FT

FILE PHOTO: An advertisement for Refinitiv is seen on a screen in London’s Canary Wharf financial centre, London, Britain, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Russell Boyce

(Reuters) – The London Stock Exchange Group Plc (LSE) (LSE.L) is in talks to combine with financial data analytics and trading platform Refinitiv, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing people briefed on the matter.

A deal could be announced as soon as next week, the Financial Times reported, adding that it could not learn the terms of the transaction.

A deal for Refinitiv would come less than a year after private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc (BX.N) bought a majority stake in the business from Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO).

Thomson Reuters, the parent of Reuters News, kept a 45% stake in Refinitiv as part of the $20 billion deal.

LSE, Refinitiv, Blackstone and Thomson Reuters did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Refinitiv bonds rallied on the prospect of a deal. Thomson Reuters shares jumped 4.3% to C$92.72 in afternoon trading in Toronto following the Financial Times report.

A merger would significantly expand LSE’s information services business, which the bourse operator has been building as a more stable source of cash flow than its primary transaction-reliant businesses.

LSE has a market value of about 19.3 billion pounds ($23.9 billion) and a net debt of about 1 billion pounds.

LSE Chief Executive David Schwimmer is a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) banker of 20 years who has raised expectations of big deals.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Huw Jones and Rachel Armstrong in London and Dan Burns in New York

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