Hong Kong's stock exchange has dropped its multibillion-dollar bid for the prized London Stock Exchange (LSE).
In a statement, Hong Kong's stock market operator said it has abandoned the takeover bid as it has been unable to bring the LSE Group's management on board for the deal, Reuters reports.
"Despite engagement with a broad set of regulators and extensive shareholder engagement, the board of HKEX is disappointed that it has been unable to engage with the management of LSEG in realizing this vision".
Last month's surprise cash-and-shares approach threatened to upend the LSE's $27-billion plan to buy data and analytics firm Refinitiv.
The LSE's chairman, Don Robert, had expressed concerns about HKEX's ties with the Hong Kong government, which meant any deal would face difficulties in gaining approval. As Finance Magnates reported, the London exchange rejected the Hong Kong Group's offer.
The LSE did not respond to a request for comment.
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The huge cash-and-shares bid, which was worth £32 billion ($40 billion, 36 billion euros), was dependent on the axing of LSEG's planned purchase of USA financial data provider Refinitiv. "Still, we look forward to next year's attempt".
LSE shares were down nearly 6% to 7,020p by mid-morning.
He added: "We are honest with ourselves too - as we know some things we try will not develop at the speed which we would like or, in some cases, at all".
Observers say the Hong Kong bourse will have to come up with a new strategy to strengthen competitiveness. "HKEX now must address the danger of stagnant business growth". "It may not be a stock exchange, but other related areas", said Bocom's Hong.
The withdrawal of the approach means it can not bid again for the LSE for at least six months unless the LSE's management agreed to an offer, another group made a bid for the London exchange operator, or other events were deemed to be a material change in the LSE's circumstances.