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London Stock Exchange Sweetens Bid For TMX Merger

CBC -- The London Stock Exchange Group has sweetened its bid to buy the company that owns the TSX, promising a $4 per share special dividend if the deal goes through.

The company also said LSE shareholders would get a one-time payment of 81 cents per share.

"This is great news for shareholders," LSE chairman Chris Gibson-Smith said. "This special dividend makes the LSEG/TMX Group merger even more compelling."

The company has been trying to convince TMX shareholders to accept their takeover offer in a key vote at the end of June. But a rival offer by a consortium of Canadian banks known as the Maple Group has launched a hostile offer for the company that owns Canada's largest stock exchange.

The dividend ups the total cash value of LSE's offer by $660 million. LSE expects the deal — and the cash payout — will happen in the autumn of 2011. But that's only if TMX shareholders vote yes on the deal, and reject Maple's offer.

"The TMX Group Board recommends that TMX Group shareholders reject the current Maple Offer and not tender their shares to that offer," the TMX said in a separate release Wednesday.

The LSE/TMX deal would require two-thirds of shareholder support.

TMX Corp. shares are one of the most widely held shares in Canada. Together, the 13 banks and Bay Street investment firms behind the Maple bid do not own enough TMX shares to block the LSE deal themselves, but they have been actively campaigning to woo investor support for their deal, which they value at about $48 per share.

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