Concerns of Brexit put ICE off LSE merger

ICE boss says it pulled out of LSE deal as it expected a Brexit back in May.

Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) Jeff Sprecher has said concerns over the likelihood of Brexit encouraged the exchange group to pull back a potential bid for the London Stock Exchange (LSE) back in May.

Speaking on ICE’s quarterly earnings call, Sprecher, chairman and CEO of ICE, explained that its decision to not launch a counterbid for the LSE was influenced by Brexit.

“The way that deal was lining up, it was orchestrated so that we were going to, if we entered the deal, have to put a number on the table, right ahead of the Brexit vote,” said Sprecher.

“We went out and we started talking to our UK colleagues to try to gauge where we thought the vote was going to come out. And honestly, we came to the opinion that the UK was probably going to leave. And so, we decided … that it was not an appropriate time for us to do a transaction.

“And I think we were fortunate in making that decision.”

In May ICE announced it had no intention to make an offer for the LSE, which is currently in the process of merging with German exchange group Deutsche Boerse.

Sprecher added that it remains committed to its UK operations, despite the result of the referendum.

“Since the Brexit vote, we’ve had an active dialogue with senior officials in the UK government to discuss the types of policies that will facilitate our continued investment,” he added.

“We’re looking forward to this ongoing dialogue, and we’re very optimistic about the government’s focus on preserving a competitive climate for business.”

ICE currently operates an exchange, a clearing house and trade repository based in London.