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KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - A consortium led by three Chinese exchanges has offered 28 rupees ($0.27) per share to buy a 40 percent stake in the Pakistan Stock Exchange .KSE, according to a statement and the bourse's top official.
"All I can say ... is the Chinese consortium is the top bidder," Managing Director Nadeem Naqvi told Reuters on Thursday ahead of an official announcement of the bids.
The consortium is led by the China Financial Futures Exchange Company Limited, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzen Stock Exchange, according to a PSX statement.
It also includes two Pakistani financial institutions, the Pak-China Investment Company Limited and Habib Bank Limited (HBL.KA).
Naqvi said 40 percent of the Karachi-based stock exchange represents 320 million shares. That would make the potential deal worth PKR 8.96 billion ($85 million).
Earlier, at least 17 parties submitted expressions of interest, Naqvi said. He would not say how many had made formal bids.
Pakistan's stock exchange has been one of Asia's best performing for several years and was recently approved to be restored to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, giving it a wider range of potential investors than as a Frontier Market.
The index has since gained 21 percent in terms of points, closing at 46,699.78 on Thursday.
"The Divestment Committee will now issue the Letter of Acceptance to the above Consortium, subject to formal
approval of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan [SECP]," read the statement confirming the bid.
Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Toby Chopra/Ruth Pitchford