Australian Macquarie Bank considers British LSE bid

Macquarie Bank Ltd, Australia's top investment bank, has confirmed it is considering a cash bid for the US$2.5 billion London Stock Exchange Plc.(LSE), the centrepiece of the British financial sector.

London Stock Exchange was among the potential target companies. Australia's Macquarie Bank said it may team up with other investors to make a cash bid for the LSE.

Crude prices dipped from record peaks above $67 a barrel as some refinery capacity came back on stream, but strained capacity supported the market, Reuters reports.

"Oil is also likely to weigh on equities in the week ahead and indeed the run of high prices should also be reflected in the forthcoming inflation data, with light crude trading off recent highs but still above $66 a barrel," said Matt Buckland, a trader at spread betting firm CMC Group.

Macquarie said in a statement the operator of Europe's largest stock market was one of a number of potential acquisitions it was considering, but there was "no guarantee" its very early deliberations would lead to a formal offer.

"Macquarie's deliberations are at the most preliminary stages and therefore, there is no guarantee that any such deliberations will lead to a formal approach and/or offer being made," Macquarie was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

"If any bid were made, it would be part of a consortium and if any such offer is made it is likely to be solely in cash," it added.

The bank said it was currently assessing a number of acquisition opportunities, including those of the company that operates and owns the LSE, according to Xinhua.

By 0708 GMT the FTSEurofirst 300 index was 0.07 percent lower at 1,192.17 points and by that time the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index fell 0.27 percent to 3,325.43 points.

Activity is likely to be muted on Monday by the Assumption Day holiday with markets closed in a number of centers, notably Italy.

Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported on the weekend that OM Gruppen, which owns the Swedish Stock Exchange, was also considering an approach for the LSE.

Deutsche Boerse made a failed STG1.5 billion offer in December last year but retains the right to make another offer.

Britain's competition watchdog said just last month a takeover of the LSE by rivals Deutsche Boerse or Euronext would harm competition.

Shares in Macquarie, which has operations in more than 21 countries and more than 6,500 staff, rose as much as 1.6 percent to A$64.56 in early trading on Monday in a flat market.

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