Australia's Treasurer Wayne Swan has rejected a proposed merger between the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX), despite the deal getting a green light from the competition watchdog's last December.
Swan was disposed to the view that the proposed merger was contrary to foreign interests, under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act.
In statement released this afternoon, the ASX said the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) had advised the SGX of the Australian government’s view. SGX had made an application to FIRB to assess the merger under the Act in March.
However, the ASX said today that it wished to continue to pursue participation in regional and global exchanges consolidation and would evaluate strategic growth opportunities - including further dialogue with SGX on other forms of combination and cooperation.
The ASX board had unanimously recommended the ASX-SGX merger proposal to ASX shareholders on 25 October, 2010.
The deal will be seen as a setback to the plans of technology vendor NASDAQ OMX - a company with a keen interest in merging stock exchanges around the world.