LONDON (Reuters) – London Stock Exchange entered exclusive talks on Friday to sell Borsa Italiana to France’s Euronext ENX.PA, seeing off competing bids from Deutsche Boerse and Switzerland’s Six.

The LSE LSE.L is selling the Milan stock exchange as part of regulatory remedies for its $27 billion purchase of data provider Refinitiv, which is 45% owned by Thomson Reuters TRI.TOTRI.N, parent company of Reuters News.

However, the deal is politically sensitive in Rome because of concerns about who could take control of Borsa Italiana’s bond platform, which handles trading of Italy’s government debt.

Euronext’s bid won round both the LSE and Rome, despite sources saying Six had initially submitted the highest offer, as it teamed up with Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and Intesa Sanpaolo ISP.MI in order to gain Italy’s buy-in.

Both CDP and Intesa will become shareholders in the French exchange operator, if the bid for Borsa succeeds, by subscribing to a proposed capital increase.

“The proposed combination of Borsa Italiana and Euronext would create a leading player in continental European capital markets,” Euronext said in a statement.

CDP would have a seat on Euronext’s supervisory board, with a second Italian candidate proposed as an independent board member and become chairman of the combined group.

“Borsa Italiana would maintain its current functions, structure and relationships within the Italian ecosystem and preserve its Italian identity and strengths,” Euronext said.

Six noted the LSE announcement and had no further comment. Deutsche Boerse did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru, Rachel Armstrong and Huw Jones in London, Mike Shields in Switzerland and Tom Sims in Frankfurt; Editing by Patrick Graham, Jason Neely and Alexander Smith

source: reuters.com

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