The London Stock Exchange Group on Friday indicated it was not about to change its mind on rejecting a key Brussels antitrust demand which it admits is likely to doom the UK group’s planned €29bn merger with Deutsche Börse.

Speaking after the group published earnings on Friday, group chief executive Xavier Rolet said the request from European competition officials to sell MTS, a small Italian fixed income trading platform, had put the LSE in a “very difficult position”.

Late on Sunday the LSE said the deal, more than a year in the making, was unlikely to get clearance from Brussels because the LSE was unable to meet the watchdog’s demands.

The LSE did not want to upset relations with regulators or customers in Italy, which accounts for 25 per cent of the group’s adjusted operating profit. The deal will proceed until Brussels make a formal decision in a month’s time.

MTS is a systemically-important regulated business, Mr Rolet said. “It is up to [the Commission] now to consider the remedies and they will make a decision in due course.”

Mr Rolet, who is due to step aside if the deal completes, added: “It looks like my retirement has been postponed.”

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