The Maple Group has launched a hostile bid to block the proposed merger between the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange, TMX Group, and the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

In its offer, Maple will issue C$3.7-billion (or US$3.8-billion) in cash for a 70 percent percent stake in TMX.

Maple’s deal values TMX at C$48 per share.

The rival LSE offer is valued at about C$3.5-billion.

Maple is an all-Canadian consortium that includes four major banks, five pension funds and four other major investors.

Maple said in a statement: "TMX Group shareholders should be aware that Maple's offer can only proceed if the LSE take-over plan does not."

Maple’s maneuver comes three weeks ahead of a vote by TMX stockholders on the LSE deal.

TMX management has already approved LSE’s bid, but Maple is asking TMX stockholders to reject it.

Xavier Rolet, the chief executive of the LSE, has cautioned that TMX shareholders would be diluted under the terms of Maple’s offer.

However, even if TMX shareholders pass the LSE transaction, it may still be blocked by Canadian regulators. Under Canadian law, foreign takeovers must show they can provide a “net benefit” to the country.

Maple has promised that should it emerge triumphant, it will keep TMX’s existing management as well as its management.

"The more Canadian investors [Maple gets], the more they can sway public opinion and government officials that this is going to be a Canadian institution," said Ian Nakamoto, an analyst from MacDougall & MacTier in Toronto, according to reports.