UPDATE 1 - LSE CEO Rolet clears hurdle to TMX deal

Sat May 21, 2011 9:35am EDT

* Maple approach for TMX "appeared unattractive" - Rolet

* Rolet said LSE was eyeing regulations six months out

(Adds further comments from Rolet)

By Luke Jeffs

LONDON, May 21 (Reuters) - London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) Chief Xavier Rolet welcomed a decision by the LSE's merger target TMX Group (X.TO) to reject a rival takeover bid, clearing a key hurdle in a deal it needs to compete globally.

"Once people had a chance to sit down and consider the Maple scheme of arrangement, there were a number of factors that appeared unattractive. At the same time we are pleased that the merits of our merger proposal have been fully understood," Rolet told Reuters in a phone interview.

The LSE agreed a $3 billion merger with TMX in February, but the plan was cast into doubt last week when the Maple consortium of Canadian banks and funds tabled a $3.6bn offer -- a move that could still derail the LSE bid and, ultimately, make the British exchange a takeover target itself.

But the LSE was given a much-needed boost late on Friday when TMX emphatically rejected the Maple offer, citing concerns over leverage, a lack of information and the regulatory hurdles.

"Our deal does not require leverage, unlike the Maple plan which would have higher levels of leverage than even Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ.O)," Rolet said.

TMX also affirmed on Friday its commitment to a merger with the British exchange.

"TMX Group entered into the merger with the LSE as the best path forward for TMX Group, its shareholders and stakeholders," the exchange said in an emailed statement.

"Ours is a strong deal and we took more than six months to review the legal and regulatory aspects before we announced the agreement. There are some national issues but what matters is the law and we believe we have structured a strong proposal," Rolet said in the interview.

The Maple Group issued an emailed statement in response to the TMX announcement saying: "We will determine our next steps in due course."

The LSE wants the TMX merger to diversify its revenue streams geographically and increase its muscle power in its ongoing fight with exchange giants NYSE Euronext NYX.N and Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE), themselves in merger talks.

(Editing by Douwe Miedema)

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