Hong Kong Exchange proposes $36B takeover of London Stock Exchange

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange says it has started talks to buy the London Stock Exchange that would value the British company at $36.6 billion.

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The offer comes weeks after the London exchange announced a plan to merge with data company Refinitiv in a $27 billion deal.

The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. said Wednesday that a deal would provide the London Stock Exchange with a key opening to Asian markets and underpin the British capital's role as a financial hub.

The offer comes at a time of heightened uncertainty for London and British companies because of Brexit, which threatens to create barriers to trade for the country. A weakened pound has also made U.K. companies cheaper takeover targets.

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The Hong Kong exchange is required to make a binding offer by Oct. 9.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.