London Stock Exchange offers special listings for private companies – WSJ

A man takes shelter under an umbrella as he walks past the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

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Jan 15 (Reuters) – The London Stock Exchange Group has offered a special market for private companies to trade their shares on the stock exchange on certain days, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The move is part of a plan to entice fast-growing tech companies to list in Britain in the wake of Brexit, the Journal said.

Shares of private companies would trade publicly between one and five days in each trading window, once a month or quarterly, or every six months, the report added, citing proposals seen by the LSE Journal at its regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the UK Treasury.

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The companies would not be subject to the same degree of regulatory oversight as a fully publicly traded company, requirements that the startup founders say are a deterrent to listing shares, the Journal said.

A London Stock Exchange Group spokesman said in a statement to Reuters that the company was working closely with government, regulators and stakeholders on a variety of issues.

“LSEG agrees that there is potential for additional pathways to market to support the widest range of companies throughout their funding lifecycle, including helping them transition from the private to the public market and even to come back,” the spokesperson added.

The Treasury did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. An FCA spokesperson declined to comment.

The Journal said the LSE wrote in the document it sent to the FCA and the Treasury on December 21 that “the new type of venue would serve as a stepping stone between private and fully public markets”. It “should be seen as an improvement to the current options available to companies seeking to raise capital without imposing regulation that will impede growth.”

Last year, Britain’s markets watchdog confirmed new rules to bolster London’s role as the global center for listing companies after increased competition from the European Union following Brexit. Read more

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Reporting by Mrinmay Dey and Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; edited by David Evans

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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