London Stock Exchange Eyes Sale of Italian Unit to Help Secure Refinitiv Approval

London Stock Exchange Group PLC took a key step toward gaining regulatory approval for its $15 billion acquisition of financial-data company Refinitiv Holdings Ltd. by entering into exclusive talks for the sale of its Italian exchange operator.

LSE said Friday it is in discussions to sell Borsa Italiana Group to a consortium comprising pan-European rival Euronext NV, an investment arm of the Italian government and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA for an undisclosed amount.

The U.K.-based exchange operator indicated in July that it might sell Borsa Italiana amid efforts to secure approval from Europe’s antitrust regulator for the much bigger Refinitiv deal. The European Commission has raised concerns that the tie-up could give the combined entity undue power over European government-bond trading, among other areas.

But the sale of Borsa Italiana, which includes bond-trading platform MTS SpA, is expected to reduce that potential sway over the market, bankers and analysts have said.

A representative for the commission declined to comment.

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