Canadians evoke patriotism to stop London bourse

The rival Maple Group comprising top Canadian banks and pension funds directly mailed its offer to Toronto Stock Exchange shareholders to acquire 70 percent stake in the bourse as well as launched a campaign to garner as many as negative votes against the London bourse.

The Toronto Stock Exchange, the third largest in North America, and the London Stock Exchange had announced their merger February 9 to create a new global mega-bourse.

With the market value of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) at about $3.87 billion and that of the TMX Group $2.99 billion at that time, the two bourses proposed to form a $7-billion giant entity with offices in Toronto and London.

But the rival Maple Group entered the fray last month to stop the London bourse from taking over the Toronto Stock Exchange.

However, with both the Toronto and London bourses last month rejecting the rival bid, June 30 has been set as the date for shareholders to vote on the merger.

The rival Maple Group opposed to the merger comprises top Canadian banks, including Scotiabank, Toronto Dominion Bank,  Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada, as well as major Canadian pension funds.

The Maple Group Monday tried to raise patriotic fervour against the London Stock Exchange by telling shareholders that the TMX Group (that owns the Toronto Stock Exchange) is "a great Canadian success story.''

In its circular to shareholders, the rival group said, "We believe an LSE takeover will ultimately diminish TMX Group's role in decision making and Canada's standing as a global centre of financial excellence.  "Our superior offer will support high-quality professional jobs in Canada and will ensure TMX Group remains headquartered in Canada.''

Canadian banks are jittery over the merger as they fear that it could dilute Toronto's importance as a major market and banking centre in North America.

The Canadian government is also worried that the takeover of their top bourse by the London Stock Exchange might negatively impact the country's financial sector.

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