ICAP reaches last minute deal to acquire PLUS Markets

British interdealer broker ICAP Plc (LON:IAP) said it had reached an agreement to buy company equity exchange PLUS Stock Exchange plc (PLUS-SX) from its parent Plus Markets Group plc (LON:PMK) for a token price of GBP1.00 (USD1.60/EUR1.24).

Plus Markets was planning to close the exchange last week, after failing to attract a buyer.

The deal for the loss-making exchange needs to secure the approval of PLUS Markets Group shareholders and clearance from the financial regulator FSA, the buyer said.

ICAP, a top interdealer broker for the wholesale financial markets offering voice broking as well as electronic trading, is in a good position to leverage the exchange status of PLUS to provide new products and solutions, including listed derivatives in the future, the buyer said.

The agreement comes after PLUS Stock Exchange confirmed the negotiations with ICAP on 17 May for a nominal value deal due to the loss making nature of its unit.

Earlier on 14 May, PLUS Stock Exchange said it would close down as it had failed to find a buyer during the formal sale process unveiled in February aimed at securing a partner to help it achieve the scale and reach needed to maximise shareholders value.

The company explained then it was seeking to secure the financial position of the PLUS exchange and the continued operations of its units PLUS Stock Exchange plc (PLUS-SX), RIE, PLUS Trading Solutions Limited (PLUS-TS), and PLUS Derivatives Exchange Limited (PLUS-DX).

In its current statement, ICAP said it remains totally committed to supporting and expanding the equities listings venue that offers growth capital for small firms, while exploring other possibilities.

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