Deutsche Boerse retracts merger comment at UK request

Slideshow ( 2 images )

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German exchange operator Deutsche Boerse has retracted comments by two senior executives about its planned $30 billion merger with LSE Group at the request of the British takeover authority.

Britain’s Panel on Takeovers and Mergers objected to comments by Chief Executive Carsten Kengeter in a newspaper interview and his statement on Deutsche Boerse’s first-quarter results, the company said in a statement on Friday.

The retractions highlight the need for the two exchanges to tread carefully while they work to obtain approvals for their merger against the background of a vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union and as speculation mounts that U.S. rivals may seek to disrupt the deal.

LSE Group issued clarifications on Monday and Wednesday of comments in relation to the merger by its chief executive, Xavier Rolet.

The Takeover Panel viewed Kengeter’s comment in German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel that the merger would create “a highly profitable business” as constituting a profit forecast, Deutsche Boerse said.

Separately, Kengeter’s comment on first-quarter earnings that the two exchanges had “received support from various stakeholders that the merger is the right step” was seen as constituting a statement of support under the UK Takeover Code.

The Takeover Panel asked Deutsche Boerse to retract Kengeter’s comments, Deutsche Boerse said.

Deutsche Boerse also said comments by Chief Financial Officer Gregor Pottmeyer in an interview with Euro am Sonntag newspaper on the impact of Brexit on bidders for the LSE, were “founded on his own views and assessment”.

Reporting by Jonathan Gould. Editing by Jane Merriman