The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) denied a Chinese investor group's bid to buy the Chicago Stock Exchange over alleged "security concerns," the regulatory agency said late Thursday.
The deal didn't comply with U.S. Exchange Act and applicable rules and regulations, the SEC claimed in a document posted on its website, adding that it couldn't resolve concerns about whether the proposed new ownership structure would comply with the ownership and voting limitations.
The SEC said this "raises significant doubts" that it would be able to monitor the exchange if the deal went through.
An investor group led by Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group (Casin Group) has been seeking the SEC's approval of the 30-million-U.S.-dollar deal since late 2016.
In July of last year, 11 members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote a letter to the SEC, urging the agency to reject the proposed acquisition, calling it "a threat to the U.S. financial security and Americans' faith in our national financial market infrastructure."
In August, the SEC said its commissioners would review the sale, a surprise announcement that overrode the recommendation by the regulator's staff that it should be approved.
Thursday's incident came after a series of U.S. trade protectionist actions in recent months, including imposing safeguard tariffs on some imported products, and launching trade remedy probes against imported steel products from Canada, China, Greece, India, South Korea and Turkey.
China's Ministry of Commerce earlier this month urged the United States not to "politicize" economic and trade issues between the two countries, calling on the United States to abandon its Cold War mentality to advance bilateral trade ties in the right direction.
Casin Group, headquartered in China's southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, is a leading diversified holding company with investments in financial, real estate and environmental services.
The 135-year-old Chicago Stock Exchange, where all trading is done electronically without a live trading floor, now handles about 0.5 percent of the U.S. stock trading.