Hong Kong’s stock exchange is seeking to acquire London’s stock exchange for $36.6 billion.
Many see the possible acquisition as untimely given the political turmoil occurring in the countries of both respective stock exchanges. Hong Kong has been overwhelmed with protests occurring throughout the summer, while the U.K. has been undergoing a leadership change as it attempts to deal with Brexit.
“You don’t choose timing, you choose what is the right thing to do,” said Charles Li, chief executive of the Hong Kong exchange.
The London stock exchange has made clear that the deal itself is preliminary. The offer comes in the midst of LSE attempting to acquire Refinitiv Holdings, a financial-information provider. Acquiring Refinitiv would make LSE a data business. LSE hopes to acquire Refinitiv for $14.5 billion in stock.
“This deal seems so out of left field, especially after Refinitiv. I was very surprised,” said Brad Bailey, research director for capital markets at Celent in New York.
Hong Kong’s offer is 22.9% over the closing price of London Exchange’s stock on Tuesday. Additionally, Hong Kong’s stock exchange would seek to pay a quarter of the offer in cash and the rest in stock. LSE stocks jumped up to 16% after the announcement of the possible acquisition.