31 Oct 2010

Proposed ASX takeover discussed by PMs

1:50 pm on 31 October 2010

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong have discussed a proposed takeover of the Australian Stock Exchange at a meeting in Vietnam.

An $A8.5 billion bid by the Singapore stock exchange for the ASX is be considered by the Foreign Investment Review Board. It will also need the approval of Parliament.

The ABC reports it would be the first merger between two market operators in the Asia-Pacific. It would also create the second-largest listing site in the Asia-Pacific after India, with 2700 companies listed.

Ms Gillard says Lee Hsien Loong raised the matter in talks at the ASEAN Summit in Hanoi.

Greens Leader Bob Brown is against the takeover.

Ms Gillard has called for calm as the bid is assessed.

"I certainly hope that no one would seek to criticise or disturb what have been longstanding and bipartisan arrangements to assessing foreign investment and assessing it through the prism of our national interest," she said.