LONDON - HSBC Holdings PLC said its aggregate interest in Midland Bank PLC has risen to 17.74%, from 14.62%, since it announced merger talks with Midland March 17.

HSBC said the latest total includes about 0.87% of Midland's share capital that had been tendered by June 9 in response to HSBC's friendly takeover bid. It also noted that it has bought 17.7 million Midland shares, or 2.25% of Midland's capital, in the open market.

Those and other such moves left its aggregate interest in Midland at about 139.8 million shares, not counting call options for an additional 31,000 shares, the company said. It specified that this total includes shares held by parties deemed to be acting in concert with HSBC, valid acceptances of its bid, and shares under discretionary management of HSBC or parties acting in concert.

As reported, HSBC is offering a mixture of cash and shares valued at about $7 billion to acquire Midland.

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