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Hong Kong pulls LSE bid; Pizza Express faces debt crisis

London Stock Exchange

The LSE rejected the offer

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has dropped its £32 billion takeover bid for the London Stock Exchange Group.

The LSE rejected the offer and a higher offer had been expected from its suitor.

But in a statement today, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said it was disappointed to withdraw its offer but said it was in the best interests of shareholders to do so.

“The Board of HKEX continues to believe that a combination of LSEG and HKEX is strategically compelling,” it said.

Pizza Express

The pizza chain has hired financial advisers ahead of a meeting with lenders over its mounting debt

The 470-store chain made losses for the last two years as its operating profits were more than offset by £93 million in interest payments on its £1.1 billion debt.

Pizza Express, founded in 1965, employs 14,000 people and was acquired in 2014 by Chinese private investment firm Hony from the UK private equity firm Cinven.

The company is not thought to be in any imminent danger of collapse. It owes Hony £500m but has until 2021 before it needs to start paying back the remaining debt to other creditors. 

Market opening

Asian shares edged higher in early trade ahead of another round of US-China trade talks later this week.

Japan’s Nikkei was up 1% in mid-morning trade, while China’s mainland markets opened slightly higher after a week-long holiday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.94%, while South Korea’s Kospi and Australia’s ASX also edged higher.

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