ASX Limited (ASX) advises that Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) has today been notified by the Foreign Investment Review Board that the Federal Treasurer, the Honourable Wayne Swan is disposed to the view, under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act, that the proposed merger of ASX and SGX should be rejected as contrary to the national interest.
The ASX Board maintains an ongoing belief in the need for ASX participation in regional and global exchange consolidation. This, together with the business logic of the combination proposal announced with SGX on 25 October 2010, resulted in the ASX Board unanimously recommending the ASX-SGX merger proposal to ASX shareholders. ln this context ASX will continue to evaluate strategic growth opportunities (including further dialogue with SGX on other forms of combination and co-operation).
It is routine for FIRB to advise the applicant of any national interest concerns before a final decision is made - as this is an important part of the process to allow the parties to respond – but obviously I am still open to further representations or information from the parties before coming to a final decision.
FIRB informed SGX that I had serious concerns about the proposal and that, subject to further consideration, I intended to accept the unanimous FIRB advice that the takeover would not be in the national interest.
It’s important to note I have not made a final decision, and it would not be appropriate for me to make further public comments on an application that is still under consideration.