March 26, 2020 / 12:27 PM / 7 days ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Spain's market regulator clears SIX's takeover bid for market operator BME

(Removes reference to European Commission in para 5)

MADRID, March 26 (Reuters) - Spain's market regulator CNMV said on Thursday it had authorised a bid by Swiss exchange SIX to buy Madrid stock market operator BME, but left a window for potential rivals to file a counter bid.

The Spanish government cleared the takeover on Tuesday on CNMV's recommendation.

On Thursday, the regulator gave SIX five days to publish details of its offer in a national newspaper and said other would-be buyers could file counter bids over the following 38 days. Paris-based Euronext has expressed interest in buying BME but has not submitted a formal bid.

The takeover is being closely watched by an industry concerned about technological changes such as blockchain that could disrupt the business model of charging fees per transactions by dramatically cutting costs.

BME shareholders will have the final say on the deal.

The BME acquisition would give SIX a base inside the European Union, which has become important since Brussels blocked EU-based investors from trading on Swiss exchanges from July in a row over a treaty.

SIX adjusted its all-cash 2.8 billion euro ($3.07 billion)offer to take into account the dividend BME recently paid to its shareholders.

In the document detailing its acquisition plan, SIX said it is committed to keep all BME operations and staff in Madrid. "There will be no merger of the markets," a SIX spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. ($1 = 0.9134 euros) (Reporting by Inti Landauro, Jose Rodriguez and Jesus Aguado; Editing by Jan Harvey, Kirsten Donovan, Philippa Fletcher)

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