Boss of London Stock Exchange insists Britain’s stock market is ‘robust’, despite concerns that country is being plundered by pandemic predators
The boss of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has insisted Britain’s stock market is ‘robust’, despite concerns that the country is being plundered by pandemic predators.
David Schwimmer, the American banker who completed LSEG’s enormous merger with data company Refinitiv at the start of this year, said he felt ‘very good about the health of the London market’.
But he admitted that the low cost of debt was leading to a rise in the number of private equity firms snapping up UK companies, and acknowledged concerns that some suitors were offering low bids.
Writing on the wall: LSE boss David Schwimmer said he felt ‘very good about the health of the London market’
Schwimmer said: ‘I think from a perspective of private equity, there’s obviously accessibility of very low-cost financing.
‘There are going to be always different views on what appropriate valuations are and that’s really what makes a market.’
Companies from Morrisons to Meggitt are in the crosshairs of private equity, amid a frenzy of deal-making which has swept the market as buyers try to take advantage of depressed prices.
Some including Aggreko and St Modwen Properties had private equity suitors raise their offers even after a cheaper deal had been recommended by the board, as investors kicked up a fuss that directors were capitulating too quickly to knock-down bids.
But Schwimmer brushed aside fears that firms were disappearing from the stock market at a rate of knots as they got bought out, pointing out that several companies – the likes of Wise and The Hut Group – were choosing to list for the first time.
He said: ‘It feels like a very healthy, robust time in the London market.’
LSEG posted a £1.1billion profit for the first half of the year, up from £435m a year earlier, boosted by the number of companies listing on the market.
The firm is set to pay a first-half dividend of 25p, up 7 per cent from last year. Shares climbed 5 per cent, or 376p, to 7844p.