FX week in review: Finalto/Markets.com buyer war, new FX broker CEOs and CFOs

Topping the FX industry news charts this week was the press war that has broken out between the competing bidding groups for Playtech’s financials division – namely, the Finalto institutional B2B business and the Markets.com Retail FX and CFDs operation.

Will the press war turn into a bidding war? How did Playtech itself react to the competing bids for Finalto?

There were also quite a number of FX industry executive moves involving companies such as LMAX, Saxo Bank, IG, ETX Capital, Advanced Markets, INFINOX, and BUX. We have all the details below.

Some of the top FX industry news stories to appear over the past seven days on FNG included:

Press release war erupts between competing Finalto / Markets.com bidders. With the Playtech shareholder vote on the original Barinboim Group led offer to buy Finalto and Markets.com just a week away on July 15, a war of words (or more precisely, press releases) has erupted between the Barinboim Group and the new “hostile” bidder, TT Bond Partners. Both sides are trying to put pressure on the other and swing the minds (and votes) of Playtech shareholders who may ultimately decide which side wins. While Playtech itself has remained silent since issuing a press release the day that the competing TT Bond Partners offer was made, each of Barinboim and TT Bond have issued new press releases (see full text below of each) making their cases directly to both the Playtech Board and its shareholders.

Playtech postpones shareholder vote on Finalto / Markets.com sale. Now it gets really interesting. Playtech plc (LON:PTEC) has just announced that it has postponed the shareholder vote set for next Thursday, July 15 to approve the $101 million sale of its financials division Finalto (which includes the Retail FX brokerage Markets.com) to an investor group led by Israeli businessman Zvika Barinboim. The postponement comes after a competing, premium all-cash offer emerged late in the process from Hong Kong investor Jonathan Bond’s TT Bond Partners (via investment vehicle Gopher Investments). As we reported here earlier this week, TT Bond Partners and the Barinboim group have engaged in a press release war over Finalto, each pressing both the Playtech board and shareholders that their offer is the better one.

Equiti selects FlexTrade’s MaxxTrader FX solution for Prime-of-Prime offering. Broker execution and order management systems provider FlexTrade has announced that multi-asset broker Equiti has chosen its MaxxTrader Foreign Exchange Platform Solution, for Equiti’s Prime of Prime Services Offering. The parties said that sell-side FX broker dealers are now more than ever looking for single source FX trading solutions that allow them to stay ahead of the game in the fast moving and competitive FX markets. MaxxTrader will enable Equiti to provide their prime of prime customers with seamless global FX liquidity aggregation, trade execution management, and institutional trading capabilities.

Bitfinex upgrades Matching Engine as institutional crypto volumes surge. Digital token exchange Bitfinex has announced that it has upgraded the exchange’s matching engine, in a move that bolsters the exchange’s capacity to handle spikes in volatility as volumes continue to surge, driven by increasing numbers of institutional investors entering the space. The upgrade in the matching engine provides the exchange with the capacity to handle mushrooming volumes as the digital token space continues to attract major participants from conventional financial markets. As the most liquid exchange for bitcoin and Ethereum, Bitfinex said it has handled an exponential growth in order volume, servicing daily volumes of US$10 billion during peak periods of trading activity.

Exclusive: Retail FX broker shares up 19% in 1H-2021. FNG Exclusive Analysis… Following a fantastic 2020 which saw shares of publicly traded Retail FX brokers soar to new all-time highs, trading up by an average of 216%, 2021 has continued in the upward direction. However the increases have not been as large, nor have they been entirely across-the-board as they were last year. In the first six months of 2021, shares of the publicly traded Retail FX and CFD broker group were up on average by 19% (or measuring by the median, by 8%). Leading the pack was Swissquote, trading up by 63% as the Switzerland based broker overtook both CMC Markets and Plus500 to become the second most valuable Retail FX shop (market cap currently USD $2.4 billion).

Top FX industry executive moves reported at FNG this week included:

Sammy Christou

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