Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd agreed to pay £1.39 billion ($2.15 billion; Dh7.89 billion) for London Metal Exchange, the world's largest metals marketplace.
The offer of £107.6 a share will be recommended by all of the 135-year-old LME's directors when it is presented at to shareholders, according to a statement from Hong Kong Exchanges. The agreement will be sent to shareholders within 15 business days and a meeting will be held before the end of July, according to the statement.The LME will be the first overseas takeover for Hong Kong Exchanges. Buying the LME would give Hong Kong Exchanges locations outside of China and allow it to offer commodities, a business the bourse said in February it required "urgent action" to develop. The deal will enable LME to set up warehouses in China, Chow Chung-Kong, Hong Kong Exchanges chairman said at a media briefing.
"The deal will make Hong Kong Exchanges one of the major metal exchanges in the world," said Charles Li, chief executive officer of the Hong Kong bourse at the same briefing. "This is a very special day."
Intercontinental Exchange Inc., the second-largest US futures market, and Hong Kong Exchanges, the world's No 2 bourse operator by market value, were the remaining contenders. The bid by Hong Kong Exchanges will have to be approved by more than 50 per cent of shareholders, with the owners of at least 75 per cent of shares backing the move. The deal requires the approval of the Financial Services Authority.China Expansion
The LME is owned by more than 60 of its 94 members, with JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and family-owned trading firm Metdist Ltd having the biggest stakes. The LME will sell for more than its valuation of about $1.3 billion, according to Equity Research Desk, an adviser to hedge funds in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Hong Kong would help the LME expand in China, the world's biggest metal buyer. The LME wants to add China to its warehousing network, Chief Executive Officer Martin Abbott said last month. Hong Kong Exchanges may have better access to the mainland market, JPMorgan said in a May report.
Hong Kong Exchanges shares have declined 9.4 per cent this year, valuing the company at $15.66 billion. Its net income fell 7 per cent in the first quarter as listing fees declined. Hong Kong Exchanges recently lost its rank as the world's most valuable exchange company to CME Group Inc.
The Chinese city's bourse wants to expand its product base as the pipeline of large initial public offerings from China dries up. Hong Kong has hosted $3.2 billion in IPOs this year, compared with $9.8 billion in the comparable period in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.frpm gulfnews.com