October 30, 2019 / 5:34 PM / 13 days ago

UPDATE 1-Italy's Treasury needs more information on bond platform from LSE

(Adds details and background)

ROME, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Italy's Treasury needs more information from the London Stock Exchange about the future of MTS, an Italian electronic fixed income trading market majority-owned by the LSE, top official Alessandro Rivera told Reuters on Wednesday.

Rivera said MTS, originally launched by the Italian Treasury and the Bank of Italy as a platform for trading Italian government bonds, was strategic for the country. The Treasury's director general added it was monitoring developments in takeover negotiations between LSE Group and data provider Refinitiv.

Earlier in the month, two sources told Reuters that Italian authorities were concerned a rumoured overhaul would eventually lead to MTS being dismantled.

After LSE Chief Executive David Schwimmer held talks with officials from the Italian central bank on Oct.10, a Bank of Italy source told Reuters that London had given assurances that it planned to continue investing in its Italian trading platforms and did not intend to move them out of the country.

While presenting its third quarter results the LSE group said it would align its clearing and settlement businesses, now split between Italy and London, into one post trade division from the start of 2020.

"We're following developments in the issue around LSE and Refinitiv. The information situation is fluid and by definition incomplete," Rivera told Reuters when asked whether the Treasury had received reassurances from London.

LSE last month rebuffed a takeover approach from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing 0388.HK, moving ahead with a $27 billion plan to buy Refinitiv, in which Thomson Reuters, parent of Reuters News, holds a 45% stake.

The Italian parliament last week gave preliminary approval to a decree strengthening government powers to protect Milan's Bourse from foreign takeovers.

The measure, which comes amid preparations for Britain to leave the European Union, would force non-EU players to notify Rome of any takeover intentions or plans to acquire controlling stakes in key financial infrastructure. (Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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