The morning after their deal with London Stock Exchange Group was killed, TMX Group executives were forced to deflect an onslaught of questions about future negotiations with their hostile Canadian bidder.
But before TMX chief executive officer Tom Kloet addressed Maple Group Acquisition Corp.'s bid worth $50 per share, he offered a personal reflection on Wednesday's decision.
"I am naturally disappointed in this outcome," he said. "However, our shareholders have spoken. I respect your decision."
Mr. Kloet also stressed that a majority of shareholders voted in favour of his deal, but then noted it wasn't enough to meet the two-thirds TMX needed for approval.
The conversation then turned to Maple and any other bidders who may be creeping in the weeds. "We are now in a position to interact with whoever we so choose," chairman Wayne Fox said, adding that the company has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize value for shareholders.
"Naturally, we have not been flirting elsewhere," Mr. Kloet said.
TMX would not comment on if it would open up negotiations with Maple, something that it had not done because it previously signed an exclusivity agreement with the LSE. However, a corporate director mentioned that a board meeting will be held next week and that a decision on negotiations could be made there.
Still, Mr. Kloet noted that Maple's success isn't a sure bet. "I think the Competition hurdle is a significant hurdle," Mr. Kloet said.
He also wouldn't rule out going it alone. "We first off like our business plan and our growth opportunities." Mr. Kloet stressed that as a standalone company, TMX has also been expanding internationally with deals like its latest data sharing agreement with Nasdaq.
Reflecting on the deal with LSE, TMX said it wouldn't have changed anything.
"It truly was a merger of equals," Mr. Kloet said, noting that it was an at-market transaction and had equal governance, split between Canada and London. "If you start tweaking any elements of that, you begin to alter a very carefully crafted agreement."
"I wouldn't do anything different, frankly," he said.
Mr. Fox agreed. "I don't think we would change much of anything, really."