London Stock Exchange seeks EU approval for $27 billion Refinitiv bid

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask walks past the London Stock Exchange Group building in the City of London financial district, whilst British stocks tumble as investors fear that the coronavirus outbreak could stall the global economy, in London, Britain, March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - The London Stock Exchange on Wednesday formally asked the European Union’s competition officials to approve its $27 billion(21.93 billion pounds) takeover of data and analytics company Refinitiv.

The European Commission set a June 26 deadline for its decision, the notification said. It can clear the deal with or without conditions or open a four-month long investigation following the end of its preliminary review if it has serious concerns.

Analysts expect the Commission to kick off a full-scale investigation after June 26 because of the complexity and the massive amount of data involved in the deal.

LSE Chief Executive David Schwimmer said last month he was still committed to completing the deal in the second half of 2020 and had already been answering questions from the European Commission’s competition officials.

Although the LSE’s proposed takeover of Refinitiv was announced last year, EU competition regulators had requested a delay on all filings from merger parties due to its staff having to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Refinitiv is 45%-owned by Thomson Reuters TRI.TOTRI.N , the parent company of Reuters News.

Reporting by Huw Jones in London and Yunchee Foo in Brussels; editing by David Evans and Emelia Sithole-Matarise