Icap confirms LSE talks


Inter-dealer broker Icap has confirmed that it held "exploratory" merger talks with the London Stock Exchange (LSE) following media reports over the weekend.

However, the UK-based firm says that the discussions have now been called off.

"Following recent press speculation regarding talks between Icap and the London Stock Exchange, Icap confirms that it has had exploratory discussions regarding a possible merger of the two companies," an Icap statement said this morning.

While no reason was given for the talks being discontinued, it is likely that Icap's chief executive Michael Spencer baulked at the exchange's inflated price after two-years of failed takeover bids.

In the past 24 months LSE's shares have more than tripled, with the group now valued at £2.6 billion.

The exchange has attracted interest from Deutsche Boerse, the Australian-based Macquarie Bank and Nasdaq in the past year, and was subject to an approach as part of the merger between the New York Stock Exchange and Euronext.

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