The London Stock Exchange on Friday said it may consider selling part or all of its Italian stock exchange group to help get its planned $27 billion takeover of data and analytics group Refinitiv approved.
The company said that it had begun "exploratory discussions" which could result in MTS, Borsa Italiana's bond trading platform, or its entire Italian arm being sold.
"There can be no certainty that LSEG will decide to proceed with a transaction relating to either of these businesses," the LSE said in a statement.
LSE said that it expects to complete the Refinitiv deal by early 2021, suggesting a potentially longer timeline than previously indicated as it tries to win approval from European competition regulators.
In reporting half-yearly earnings, LSE said it was seeing good progress with foreign investment, antitrust and other regulatory approvals for the Refinitiv transaction, and that integration planning is well developed.
"We expect to close the transaction by the end of the year or in early 2021," LSE Chief Executive David Schwimmer said in a statement.
Rival exchanges Euronext and Deutsche Boerse have previously expressed an interest in the LSE's Italian operations. Neither immediately responded to requests for comment early on Friday.
The London exchange said the United States Department of Justice has closed its antitrust investigation into the Refinitiv deal without seeking changes.
Refinitiv is 45%-owned by Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Reuters News.