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Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Maple Group Acquisition Corp. is working with Canadian regulators on its bid for TMX Group Inc. after the antitrust agency expressed “serious concerns” about the sale of the Toronto Stock Exchange owner to a group of Canadian banks.
“Our work with the Competition Bureau continues and we will update the market on its progress at the appropriate time,” Luc Bertrand, spokesman for Maple Group told a hearing at the Ontario Securities Commission today. “Our proposal represents a unique opportunity to strengthen Canada’s capital markets.”
Canada’s Competition Bureau told TMX and Maple Group, whose 13 members include Toronto-Dominion Bank, Manulife Financial Corp. and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, that it had concerns about the impact of the sale on competition.
Maple’s plan includes a takeover of the bank-owned Alpha Group, which operates a trading platform that competes with the Toronto Stock Exchange, as well as the Canadian Depository for Securities Ltd., the country’s securities clearinghouse.
The Competition Bureau said its concerns were “primarily in connection with equities trading and clearing settlement,” Maple said in a Nov. 29 statement.
OSC Chairman Howard Wetston said at the hearing in Toronto that the commission will consider how possible conflicts of interest will be managed in the sale and whether there should be a for-profit model for clearing trades. TMX and Alpha combined would control more than 85 percent of equity trading in Canada.
“We have before us an application that raises many-faceted issues for our capital markets,” Wetston said. “The infrastructure that is under consideration in this transaction is critical to our markets.”
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