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The consortium that wants to buy exchange operator TMX Group (X-T) extended the deadline on its $3.8-billion takeover bid for a fourth time on Tuesday as regulators study the proposal, which would put the country's dominant trading, clearing and settlement services under one roof.
Maple Group, made up of 13 financial institutions, said it extended its offer until February 29. The offer needs to pass muster with provincial securities regulators, as well as with the federal Competition Bureau, and there is no time frame for that to be completed.
"We are committed to the transaction and are working diligently to obtain the required regulatory approvals," Maple's Luc Bertrand said in a statement.
"We are in ongoing discussions with the regulators and have made numerous submissions to them, including recently submitting a proposed CDS pricing model and proposing remedies to address concerns regarding equities trading," he added.
Maple is owned by some of the same banks that already own the Alpha Group trading system, the largest competitor to the TMX. Its TMX bid is contingent on it getting regulatory approval to buy both Alpha and the Canadian Depository for Securities, which clears and settles trades in Canada.
These aspects of the deal have spurred fears that the new entity will have a monopolistic market share, and Maple has indicated that it is ready to compromise to get the deal done.
It stressed in its statement that it is doing all it can to win the necessary approvals. But at the same time said there were no guarantees these approvals would come, or that it could accept all regulator concerns without what it described as "material detriment" to its business plan.
Maple first bid for TMX in May 2011, trumping a friendly proposal from the London Stock Exchange. LSE abandoned its bid after it failed to win adequate shareholder support.
In October, TMX's board agreed to support the Maple bid and it has recommended that shareholders accept and tender their shares under the Maple offer.
TMX Chief Executive Tom Kloet said the exchange operator continues to support the deal and it would work closely with Maple to achieve the required approvals.