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London Stock Exchange grabs rival

Turquoise talks are go

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The London Stock Exchange is in exclusive talks to buy Project Turquoise, the rival trading platform set up by nine banks in order to push down transaction fees.

A formal statement was issued yesterday confirming talks. Turquoise launched its electronic share dealing platform in late 2008. It gives access to 15 European exchanges.

The deal would be the second big buy for LSE's new chief exec Xavier Rolet - in September the exchange bought MilleniumIT, the Sri Lankan development firm, for £18m.

Project Turquoise had a difficult birth and was nicknamed Project Tortoise thanks to its delayed arrival.

It aimed to exploit changes to European regulation to allow multi-national trading platforms. It failed to secure quite as large a share of trading as expected but was hitting five per cent of UK trading.

One question for any would-be buyer is how to guarantee the nine banks continue to use the platform when they are no longer shareholders in the business.

If LSE does manage to buy Turquoise it will have secured a new platform, and a new offshore partner to develop it, within just a few weeks. ®

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