Nine Canadian banks and pension funds submit C$3.6B bid for Toronto Stock Exchange, in effort to halt controversial merger with London Stock Exchange

TORONTO , May 15, 2011 () – A group of nine Canadian banks and pension funds has submitted a C$3.6 billion (US$3.7 billion) rival bid for the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange, hoping to derail a controversial merger with the London Stock Exchange.

The financial companies, who call themselves Maple Group Acquisition Corp., said Sunday that they have submitted a proposal to the board of TMX Group Inc. worth C$48 (US$49.50) a share, about 20 percent higher than the LSE bid.

Maple's investors include: Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, CIBC World Markets Inc., Fonds de solidarite des travailleurs du Quebec, National Bank Financial Inc., Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, Scotia Capital Inc. and TD Securities Inc.

TMX Group Inc. did not identify the Canadian group's members on Saturday but said it will evaluate the latest proposal

The attempted merger with the LSE, which already owns markets in Britain and Italy, has met with some opposition in Canada.

Luc Bertrand, Vice-Chairman of National Bank Financial Group, said the Canadian bid would "secure the future growth and ongoing integrity of the Canadian capital markets."

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan welcomed the newest bid on Saturday and said he received a briefing from its backers. He is among those who have expressed concern that merging with the London exchange will leave Canada's biggest stock exchange dominated by foreign interests.

TMX Group said Friday that it had applied with Canadian provincial regulators for approval of the all-stock offer from the LSE. The federal government must also approve the deal under the Investment Canada Act.

Regulators were expected to decide on the buyout this fall.

If the Maple Group's bid succeeds, existing shareholders of TMX Group would own 40 percent of Maple's shares.

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