The head of Canadian market operator TMX Group Inc
The expected $3.7 billion counteroffer from the Maple Group consortium of Canadian banks and pension funds will throw a new hurdle in the path of the LSE's offer to buy the Toronto Stock Exchange parent for about $3.5 billion.
But TMX Chief Executive Tom Kloet said Maple has yet to put forth a genuine offer, and sought in a speech in New York on Friday to boost the credentials of the LSE deal ahead of the June 30 shareholder vote.
LSE's planned takeover must pass muster with Canadian government, which will decide if it meets the terms of the Investment Canada Act, which requires foreign takeovers to carry a net benefit to Canada.
We think we're in quite good shape now, Kloet told a conference hosted by Sandler O'Neill.
He said the company is in active dialogue with the government over the deal, which was announced in February. We remain confident that we're on track for that approval.
With less than three weeks left before shareholders vote, Maple Group's circular, its formal pitch to shareholders, is expected soon.
It will provide additional details on the structure of the $48 a share offer, but according to a source with knowledge of the deal, the circular will not provide specifics on the valuations for Alpha Group, Canada's biggest alternative trading system, and for the CDS clearinghouse.
Both entities are controlled by Canada's big banks and could be acquired and put under TMX's umbrella if the Maple deal wins regulatory and shareholder approval.
The Maple bid, once official, will face antitrust scrutiny because of the Alpha and CDS proposal.
More financial institutions are set to join the Maple bid, though none have definitively signed on, while time is running short for Maple to persuade TMX shareholders that its all-Canadian option is better for the country's capital markets.
Responding to what he called mischaracterizations, Kloet said TMX and LSE did not accelerate the shareholder vote date, noting June 14 was the original target. He added the date could be changed if the pair agreed, but that wasn't his intention.
Shares of TMX were down 20 Canadian cents at C$44.10 in early afternoon trading on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer in New York and Solarina Ho in Toronto, editing by Peter Galloway)