The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has sweetened its offer to Australia for the proposed acquisition of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), hoping to win the favor of reluctant politicians who must approve the deal in order for it to proceed. The offer, already a fairly generous US$8.3 billion, will now include a guarantee of equal Australian/Singaporean representation on the board of directors, with five each. Australia was previously given four seats. The total number of directors will also be reduced from 14 to 13, with the remaining positions given to independent directors.

The Australian government supports the deal but it does not hold a majority in either the lower or upper houses of the Australian Parliament. Both members of the opposition Liberal Party and the left-wing Australian Greens have expressed doubts or outright opposition to the merger, saying it is not in Australia’s interests. In return, exchange operators are making guarantees that key operations will remain in Australia.

If the deal is rejected, SGX and ASX could see themselves left behind as other major world stock exchanges line up to merge. The London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Toronto’s TMX exchange announced plans to join last week and Germany’s Deutsche Boerse is discussing links with the NYSE/Euronext.

source & article: The Star online