(Bloomberg) — London Stock Exchange Group Plc is poised to receive antitrust objections from European Union regulators examining its $27 billion plan to buy data provider Refinitiv, according to a person familiar with matter.
The filing is imminent, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing information that isn’t public. Such statements of objections lay out the EU’s potential antitrust concerns with deals, which companies can then challenge in writing or at a hearing.
Any outstanding problems can be tackled by making an offer, usually the sale of a unit or changes to business behavior. The EU currently has a Dec. 16 deadline to rule on the deal, which can be extended.
LSE is already in exclusive talks with Euronext NV and two Italian institutions over a potential sale of Borsa Italiana to allay EU concerns that the deal would give the combined company a very large market share for European government bond trading by merging the Milan bourse’s MTS SpA and Refinitiv’s Tradeweb.
A spokeswoman for LSE declined to comment, as did the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator. The EU’s website indicates that officials have written a draft statement of objections for an unspecified deal.
The EU has also flagged possible problems with trading and clearing of interest-rate derivatives, consolidated real-time datafeeds and desktop solutions as well as index licensing citing the possibility that rivals could be shut out from accessing important Refinitiv data.
LSE shares climbed 1% to 9198 pence, a new record at the close of London trading Friday.
The last mega-merger involving LSE and its mooted multibillion-dollar combination with rival Deutsche Boerse AG fell apart after LSE rejected demands from EU officials to sell MTS.
The deal comes as antitrust officials weigh the value of data and live data feeds and how control of big data can bolster a company’s position. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, has expressed concerns about how some companies can amass data and become gatekeepers for an industry.
(Updates with details of EU’s increased focus on data in last paragraph)
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