SEC rejects sale of Chicago Stock Exchange to Chinese-led investment group

A proposed merger between Chinese-led North America Casin Holdings group and the Chicago Stock Exchange has been rejected after two years of review.

Despite receiving approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, many US politicians, including President Trump, said that it would be a bad idea to let a Chinese company invest in a US exchange.

In August 2017, SEC staff initially voted to approve the merger. However, minutes after the announcement was made the decision was put on hold for further review.

Chicago Stock Exchange arch
Chicago Stock Exchange arch.

US lawmakers from both parties criticized the deal, raising concerns that it would give the Chinese government access to US financial markets.

The commission ultimately ruled that the deal didn’t comply with U.S. rules governing stock exchanges.

“The review process has also raised questions about whether the proposed ownership structure will allow the commission to exercise sufficient oversight of the exchange” the SEC said on Thursday.

Republican congressman Robert Pittenger said in a statement:

“This has been a long fight, and I’m grateful we now have a president who recognises the national security threats of allowing a Chinese government-affiliated company to own the Chicago Stock Exchange.”

He added:

“We must continue to be vigilant, with thorough oversight, to prevent the highly-coordinated and strategic efforts of the Communist Chinese government to threaten our national security through malicious business investments.”

The acquisition, worth around $25 million, was first proposed in February 2016.