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Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing pulled a $39 billion takeover offer for the London Stock Exchange, following opposition from LSE's board and an inability to secure large shareholder support.

Why it matters: LSE opposition was officially driven by strategic and pricing concerns, but cannot be divorced from concerns over the future viability of Hong Kong's "one country, two systems" relationship with China.

  • LSE plans to move forward with its $27 billion purchase of financial data company Refinitiv from The Blackstone Group and Thomson Reuters. HK Exchanges had made its offer contingent on LSE dropping the Refinitiv deal.

The bottom line: "Exchange companies have tried and failed to combine in recent years, as political, regulatory and economic considerations have foiled the efforts." — Bloomberg

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: The 72-year-old's arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.