Stock Exchange enters £1bn battle for LME

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The Independent Online

The London Stock Exchange has emerged as one of nine potential bidders in the £1bn auction of the London Metal Exchange.

The exchange is in exclusive talks with LCH.Clearnet, which provides much of London's share-trading back office, over a potential merger. It could team up with the Singapore Stock Exchange to generate added firepower for what is expected to be a hotly contested battle.

The LME, a private company whose shares are held by its member firms, including banks and metals-dealing houses, put itself up for sale last week after contacts with potential bidders. Business at the LME, which famously still operates in part on a type of "open outcry" trading that once held sway across the City, has been booming as commodity prices have soared.

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