Public feedback sought on London Stock Exchange Group's proposed acquisition of Refinitiv

LSEG generates revenue from customers in Singapore through its activities in capital markets, post-trade and risk management, information services and technology services. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) is inviting public feedback on the London Stock Exchange Group's (LSEG) proposed acquisition of Refinitiv Holdings.

This comes after LSEG in August last year said it has agreed to buy financial information firm Refinitiv in a US$27 billion (S$38.5 billion) deal that will transform the British company into a market data and analytics giant.

The US Committee on Foreign Investment has given its nod for the takeover, judging there were no national security concerns with the proposed deal, Reuters reported last month. LSEG said it remained committed to closing the deal in the second half of 2020.

Refinitiv is 45 per cent-owned by Thomson Reuters, which owns Reuters News.

In a media statement on Wednesday (April 8), CCCS said it received an application from LSEG and Refinitiv on March 27 on the proposed transaction, and is now assessing whether the deal would infringe on the Competition Act, which prohibits mergers that may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market in Singapore.

The public consultation will run from April 8 to April 22.

LSEG generates revenue from customers in Singapore through its activities in capital markets, post-trade and risk management, information services and technology services.

Refinitiv has three primary business segments: data and analytics, capital markets and workflow solutions, as well as risk management services.

In their application to Singapore's competition watchdog, both parties noted that the transaction "will not raise competition concerns under any plausible market definition, or have any material effect on any relevant market in Singapore".

This is because post-merger, the parties will continue to face strong competition from a wide range of competitors, including Bloomberg and JPMorgan, LSEG and Refinitiv said.

However, they noted that the two companies overlap in providing fixed income index licensing services (excluding hybrids such as convertibles and preferred securities) to customers in Singapore.

LSEG and Refinitiv added that the proposed deal is unlikely to lead to collusion, given the presence of a large number of existing competitors, the threat of disruption from new entrants in a market characterised by relatively low barriers to entry, as well as new index products.

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