A Canadian Offensive


The Maple consortium of large Canadian banks led by the best Canadian Exchange Manager, Luc Bertrand, is likely to acquire the Canadian exchange TMX. The London Stock Exchange looks unlikely to be able to win the prize against a very strong bid.


For outsiders, it was a strange day in Canadian markets when the board of TMX overlooked their Deputy CEO Luc Bertrand and chose an outsider, Tom Kloet as CEO in 2008.

As the CEO who took the Bourse de Montreal from unloved also ran to a 1.3 billion Canadian dollar franchise, there was widespread shock that Bertrand did not get the top job at TMX.

Three years on and Luc Bertrand has returned to centre stage as the head of the Maple group bid and already the bid appears to be building remarkable momentum.

The price offered is strong and includes a judicious quantity of cash for existing shareholders. The concept of building a silo for Canada ought to help strengthen the Canadian market infrastructure (although it is, admittedly somewhat controversial) and ultimately TMX would gain a top manager who has a proven track record of transforming exchange businesses.

LSE look to have been simply outplayed by a bid which while all Canadian is not protectionist per se although the nationalist issues will probably do Maple no harm in their pursuit of the exchange.

A revamped TMX with Luc Bertrand at the helm promises great things for the Canadian markets and indeed may be influential on market events overseas. Will it push LSE in to negotiations with NASDAQ? That seems logical although it is tricky to see which side will be willing to give ground in what could be a relatively complex deal to complete for political more than operational reasons.


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