LONDON (Reuters) – The London Stock Exchange

said its pan-European share trading arm Turquoise will offer trading in EU-listed shares on its Dutch platform from the end of next month if there is no agreement on future direct access to the bloc by then.

Brussels is assessing whether to allow Britain’s financial sector to serve EU investors under its “equivalence” system, which checks if UK market rules are as robust as those in the EU.

After Britain left the EU last January, direct access to the single market under transition arrangements ends on Dec. 31.

“Turquoise can confirm that it is planning on invoking its Brexit contingency plans on Monday 30 November 2020, unless relevant equivalence decisions to allow cross-border services between the EU and UK are agreed prior to this date,” the UK exchange said in a statement. All shares would still be available for trading in London as well.

The LSE set up its Dutch hub as insurance against no direct access to EU investors.

CBOE, the biggest pan-European share trading platform, which is based in London, has also set up a hub in Amsterdam that is already open for business but with little trading so far, while London-based Aquis Exchange has set up its Brexit hub in Paris.

Without equivalence, EU investors would have to trade EU companies inside the bloc, even though many of them are heavily traded in London.

Banks have warned that fragmenting trading liquidity would make markets less efficient for users.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Susan Fenton and Mark Potter)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Walmart
WMT
has tied up a deal to sell the U.K. supermarket group Asda Group to gas station tycoons the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital for £6.8 billion ($8.8 billion) after a merger with Sainsbury was blocked last year.

The transaction—made on a debt-free and cash-free basis—is set to close in the first half of 2021 subject to the usual regulatory approvals. Under the new ownership structure, the Issas and TDR Capital will have majority ownership of Asda through equal shareholdings, with Walmart retaining an ongoing equity investment.

Walmart says that it will have a continuing commercial relationship, expected to be a supply and sourcing arrangement, and it will also retain a seat on the Asda board.

In a statement on the deal, Judith McKenna, President and CEO of Walmart International, said: “We believe it creates the right ownership structure for Asda, building on its 71 year-heritage, whilst bringing a new entrepreneurial flair, not only to Asda, but also to UK retailing. Walmart will retain a significant financial stake, a board seat, and will continue as a strategic partner.”

She went on to praise the U.K. supermarket’s contribution to the world’s biggest retailer, describing Asda as a “powerhouse of innovation for the rest of the Walmart world.”

The Issa brothers are co-CEOs of EG Group, a global convenience and gas station forecourts retailer, headquartered in Blackburn in the U.K. with pro forma revenue in 2019 of almost $30 billion. The Issas founded Euro Garages in 2001, with a single petrol station in Bury, Greater Manchester and now have a diversified portfolio of over 6,000 sites across 10