London Stock Exchange Group formally rejected a takeover bid by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, citing "fundamental concerns" over the bid.

Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. August 23, 2018.
Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. August 23, 2018. (Reuters)

London Stock Exchange has rejected Hong Kong Exchange's $39 billion takeover offer, opting to stick with its planned purchase of data and analytics group Refinitiv.

The LSE told HKEX in a letter that it had fundamental concerns about key aspects of the proposal and that HKEX's relationship with the Hong Kong government would "complicate matters".

"Accordingly, the board unanimously rejects the conditional proposal and, given its fundamental flaws, sees no merit in further engagement," the London bourse said in a statement.

LSE shares were trading up 1.3 percent at 7,352 pence after the statement, little changed from earlier levels.

HKEX made its surprise offer on Wednesday, just two days after its officials travelled to London to present it to LSE Chief Executive David Schwimmer for the first time.

It has been coolly received by shareholders so far, though analysts expect the Asian exchange to return with an improved proposal and could go hostile, meaning a direct appeal to LSE shareholders.

In its letter, the LSE said that HKEX's assertion that implementing the deal would be swift and certain "is simply not credible".

Source: TRTWorld and agencies