By Anna Isaac and Ben Dummett
London Stock Exchange Group PLC agreed Friday to sell Borsa Italiana Group to a group led by pan-European rival Euronext NV, a divestment meant to smooth approval of its separate, much larger, acquisition of financial-data company Refinitiv Holdings Ltd.
The deal, priced at around 4.33 billion euros, equivalent to $5.09 billion, is aimed at alleviating antitrust concerns about the potential bond-trading dominance of the proposed $15 billion tie-up between LSE and Refinitiv.
Borsa Italiana's MTS SpA is the leading bond exchange in Italy, one of Europe's largest debt markets. Refinitiv owns bond-trading platform TradeWeb.
"This removes a major hurdle towards the deal, and may also generate some political goodwill," said Chris Turner, equity analyst at Berenberg Bank ahead of Friday's announcement.
Euronext leads a consortium of buyers that includes an investment arm of the Italian government and Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo SpA. The deal price includes an unspecified payment based on cash generated by the Italian exchange through the deal's completion, the companies said. The Italian government had previously signaled that it would favor a deal in which Italy would retain some ownership of the exchange.
LSE's deal to acquire Refinitiv is under review by the European Commission.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires