British small-cap stockex PLUS-SX up for sale

PLUS Markets (www.plusmarketsgroup.com), a British-regulated investment exchange for trading the shares of small companies, has put itself up for sale on 3 Feb. According to a press release, the company says it has spent 2 years investing heavily in repositioning itself as a trading solutions services provider alongside its roots as a stock exchange.
The Board of Directors says it is “well positioned strategically to exploit commercially the opportunities offered by significant changes in the regulatory and technological environment”. The Board has decided to conduct a formal sale process “in order to identify appropriate potential partners for the Company or major strategic investors”. It calls on potential offerors for the entire issued and to be issued share capital to contact their adviser, Wyvern Partners (www.wyvernpartners.com, Anthony Gahan +44 207 355 9857).
Plus Markets Group plc describes itself on its website as a “next-generation” stock exchange and a market operator under the European Union Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) on Recognised Investment Exchanges (RIE). It operates a regulated market and multilateral trading facility (MTF). PLUS is the holding company for the PLUS Stock Exchange (PLUS-SX) and the PLUS Derivatives Exchange (PLUS-DX).
As an RIE, PLUS-SX can provide trading and listing services in the full range of financial instruments including cash, equities, derivatives, bonds and commodities. It provides cash trading and listing for UK and international companies with a range of markets through fully listed and growth markets to access capital. PLUS-DX offers derivatives and technology services and plans to offer short-to medium-term interest-rate related products. “We have designed PLUS-DX’s services to meet the changing regulatory and commercial landscape.”
PLUS Trading Solutions (“PLUS-TS”) responds to the growing demand from market participants to segregate or create their own matching systems and delivers a competitive, fully managed matching and surveillance service, designed to help firms satisfy new regulatory requirements. The group brings “product innovation and competitive pricing to market participants by operating a low cost base RIE. PLUS offers a neutral trading environment, wholly independent of any market user.”
The Board of PLUS adds: “scale and international reach will become increasingly relevant for interaction with exchanges, investment banks and other trading entities.”
According to a story on Reuters, the company reported a loss of GBP5.8m ($9.2m) on revenue of GBP3m in 2010, its sixth consecutive loss-making year. PLUS grew out of Ofex, an exchange for British small-cap stocks that required less regulation than the London Stock Exchange or AIM. The share price was at 1 penny.
“The Board believes that it is in the best interests of the Company to seek a partner which will help it achieve the scale and reach required to maximise value to stakeholders.”

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