FTSE 100 company LSE, which aims to create a European powerhouse through a £21billion tie-up with its German rival, has accepted a cash offer from continental stock exchange operator Euronext, with which it has been in talks to offload the French arm of LCH Clearnet.
LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet said any proceeds would be used “for general corporate purposes”, although the sale is subject to review and approval by the European Commission in connection with the Detusche Borse deal.
The French business is part of the LSE-controlled LCH Group and acts as a clearing house – by which customers must settle their trades to buy and sell shares and other securities for regulated markets in France, Holland, Belgium and Portugal.
Euronext chief executive Stephane Boujnah said: “The potential acquisition of Clearnet represents an opportunity for Euronext to achieve revenue growth and diversification. We will be in a position to provide our existing and future clients with a pan-European, fully integrated trading and posttrade platform.
“We are looking forward to further strengthening our role as the leading integrated market platform of the Eurozone, powering pan-European capital markets to finance the real economy.”
The European Commission’s concerns over LSE’s proposed merger with Deutsche, aimed at creating a European powerhouse to take on the American and Asian exchanges, focus mainly on clearing of derivatives contracts, amid fears that a dominant player could lead to higher fees for customers.
It is not clear whether the sale of the French clearing arm would address these concerns.
The Commission has extended its review of the LSE-Deutsche deal to early March.