The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has set deadlines for this week and mid-September for indicative bids for all or parts of Borsa Italiana to help win European Union approval for its $27 billion takeover of data company Refinitiv, sources said on Tuesday.

The EU’s competition regulator expressed concern in June that a combination of LSE’s MTS and Refinitiv, which owns bond platform Tradeweb, would have large market share in European government bond trading.

A month later, LSE CEO David Schwimmer said the London exchange might sell off MTS or the entire Borsa Italiana group.

The LSE has set an Aug. 21 deadline for non-binding bids for MTS, sources familiar with the matter said.

The sources said there was a Sept. 11 deadline as well for non-binding bids for the entire Borsa Italiana group, which also comprises the Milan stock exchange, and a clearing and settlement system.

The LSE declined to comment.

“At this stage the LSE is gauging interest. The real action will start in September,” one of the sources said.

A bidding war for all of Borsa could be triggered, with Euronext CEO Stephane Boujnah having said he wants to add Borsa Italiana to the exchange group’s stable of European bourses.

The sources said Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) wanted to submit two separate bids with Euronext for both MTS and Borsa. Italy and France would likely meet to discuss a deal, one of them said.

Lawmakers of governing Italian party 5-Star recently crafted a proposal with the help of Mediobanca to form a bidding consortium for Borsa involving CDP.

Italy has approved ‘golden power’ legislation to block takeovers of key companies in sectors including market infrastructure, like Borsa.

Refinitiv is 45%-owned by Thomson Reuters, parent of Reuters News.

Source: Reuters

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