TMX suitor Maple says pushing ahead with bid

TORONTO (Reuters) - Maple Group's plan to acquire TMX Group X.TO is on track, despite a retreating share price for the Toronto Stock Exchange operator.

People attend a market open ceremony for the Toronto Stock Exchange at the TSX Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The group of Canadian financial institutions said on Monday it is working with regulators, management and stake holders on issues surrounding the C$3.8 billion ($3.9 billion) takeover bid for TMX.

Shares of TMX Group have fallen 10 percent since Maple made its hostile bid in May, countering a friendly offer for the parent of the Toronto Stock Exchange by the London Stock Exchange LSE.L.

Maple said the share price’s fall does not signal any change in its plan, however.

In the same period, the main index of the Toronto Stock Exchange has fallen 6.6 percent due to an anemic U.S. economy and U.S. and European debt woes.

“Maple does continue to work with the regulators for its bid for the TMX, while at the same time having discussions with the TMX,” said Peter Block, a spokesman for the group.

“And yes, there are discussions with TMX shareholders.”

Maple, which includes four of Canada’s largest banks, four top pension funds and one North America’s largest life insurers, has said it is confident it can secure approval for the C$50 a share bid by late fall.

Maple plans to integrate TMX’s exchanges with the Alpha Group alternative trading system and the CDS trade clearinghouse, raising antitrust concerns. The proposal requires approval by Canada’s Competition Bureau as well as regulators in four provinces.

The LSE’s offer derailed in June when it failed to generate sufficient shareholder support.

Shares of TMX closed down 1.04 percent at C$39.94 in Toronto on Monday.

($1=$0.98 Canadian)

Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Pav Jordan and Rob Wilson