The Maple Group's $3.8 billion deal to acquire the TMX Group (TSX:X), which runs the TSX, cleared a major hurdle today when the acquisition was signed off by Canada's Competition Bureau and the Ontario Securities Commission.
The Maple Group's 18-month quest is nearing its end. Pending regulatory hurdles are hearing from two provincial regulators.
When completed,the deal will bring together the Canadian Depository for Securities Ltd., the Toronto Stock Exchange and a competing trading exchange, Alpha Trading Systems Inc.
Back in November 2011 the Competition Bureau said it had concerns about the new exchange, regarding some "…serious competition concerns, primarily in two areas: equities trading, and post-tradeservices, including clearing, settlement and depository services."
In the intervening months, the bureau said its concerns had been addressed.
"Accordingly, the Bureau is today issuing a No Action Letter (NAL) to Maple Group in respect to the proposed transactions," said the bureau in a statement.
"A NAL confirms that the Bureau has reviewed a specific proposed merger and concluded that it will not, at this time, challenge that proposed transaction before the Competition Tribunal under the merger provisions of the Competition Act."
The Ontario Security Commission also gave approval with some conditions.
"Due to Maple’s proposal to own the key market infrastructure entities in Canada, which could concentrate risk in Maple, and the significant amount of conflicts that could result, we will be instituting an enhanced oversight program for the Maple Group," wrote the OSC.
A spokesperson for the Maple Group thanked the regulatory bodies for the review.
"Competition Bureau clearance and publication of AMF and OSC recognition orders are major milestones in the progress of our transactions. This progress reflects our commitment to ensuring that our proposed business reflects the interests of all participants in the Canadian capital markets. We look forward to receiving the remaining regulatory approvals," said Luc Bertrand with Maple Group.
The TMX Group was up 3.33% to $48.41.