After it recently announced plans to mothball its struggling small cap market equities exchange unit because of the lack of a suitable takeover firm, Plus Markets’ now says it is in talks with Icap about a possible deal for a ‘nominal sum’.
A statement released to the London Stock Exchange, confirmed market rumours that a deal with Icap may be underway. The statement reads: “The Group can confirm that it is in talks with Icap which may lead to the disposal of its subsidiary company PLUS Stock Exchange (PLUS-SX), the cash equities recognised investment exchange for a nominal amount due to the loss making nature of PLUS-SX. As indicated in previous announcements, the board believe that this would be in the best interests of shareholders to preserve remaining shareholder value. There can, however, be no certainty that a transaction will complete."
The broker-dealer’s main interest is likely to be in buying Plus' coveted Recognised Investment Exchange status, although Icap is thought to be committed to preserving the quotation of the 156 small companies listed on the Exchange, especially as fears continue to grow in the UK about a lack of funding for small-to-mid capitalised firms to access due to ever-increasing consolidation and adverse economic conditions.
By Neil Ainger