FX week in review: Finalto sale stalls, CHF peg, Liverpool FC sponsor, Plus500 and Saxo results

Why did Playtech’s sale of its Financials division – Finalto and Markets.com – hit a major roadblock? And, what happens next?

What signs are there that the Swiss National Bank might – once again – change its strategy of effectively supporting CHF exchange rates? Will history repeat itself?

How did FX industry stalwarts Plus500 and Saxo Bank perform in the first half of 2021? What’s the outlook for the rest of the year?

Who is Liverpool FC’s new Retail FX sponsor?

Answers to these questions and a whole lot more appeared first or exclusively this week at FNG. Some of the most read and commented-on FX industry news stories to appear over the past seven days on FNG included:

Playtech shareholders reject Finalto sale to Barinboim Group. Online gaming tech provider Playtech plc (LON:PTEC) has announced that its shareholders have resoundingly rejected the proposed sale of its Financials division to a consortium led by Israeli businessman Zvika Barinboim. The deal, signed between Playtech and the Barinboim consortium in late May, was to see Playtech’s Financials division – consisting of the Finalto B2B business and Retail FX and CFDs broker Markets.com – sold for $210 million in cash. (However, as was demonstrated exclusively at FNG, the sale was really going to yield Playtech just $101 million, as the company was to kick in $109 million of cash to the sold entity as part of the transaction.) So what comes next?

Barinboim Group not giving up on Finalto purchase. The acquisition group which whose proposed $210 million purchase of Finalto and Markets.com was turned down by Playtech shareholders earlier today is not giving up. The group, led by Israeli businessman Zvika Barinboim with backing from a number of banking and insurance companies, issued a statement late Wednesday explaining its decision to allow Playtech to now negotiate with alternative bidder Gopher Investments (which offered $250 million for Finalto), as well as its plans to formally keep the consortium together for a further 30 days. Apparently, the Barinboim group believes that Playtech’s planned dealings with Gopher Investments will not ultimately yield a workable deal and that Gopher’s interest in Finalto will be unveiled as “not genuine”.

SNB intervention in CHF – could history repeat itself? Guest post… There are few participants in the FX market who need to be reminded about the events of January 2015, however there is a possibility that history could be about to repeat itself, which seems to be a risk that is rather less in the front of mind of today’s operators. A closer look at the situation could suggest that the Swiss National Bank implied policy may be under some pressure, with current reserves arguably comparing unfavourably to the reserves held at the time of the January 2015 removal of the EUR/CHF peg. Opinions are divided in the markets as to whether the Swiss Franc is trading at fair value, or whether the rate could prove to be unsustainable.

Plus500 shares rise 8% after 1H results released. Leading online Retail FX and CFDs broker Plus500 (LON:PLUS) saw its shares rise by 8% on Tuesday, after the company released its results for the first half of 2021. While the company had already released its top-line Revenue figures for the first half back at the beginning of July, the markets seemed to cheer the company’s continued overall level of profitability, as well as its ability to continue to grow its client base. As noted, we had reported on July 12 that Plus500 revenues for Q2-2021 were down by 30% QoQ, which sent Plus500 shares on a bit of a one-week slide of 6-7% at the time. However shareholder worries that the drop in revenues might have resulted in a large profitability hit seem to have been assuaged by the full 1H report, with Plus500 earning $165 million in net income for the six month period.

Liverpool FC welcomes ThinkMarkets as its Official Global Trading Partner. Liverpool FC has welcomed global online trading broker, ThinkMarkets, as its new Official Global Trading Partner. With offices in London, Melbourne, Dubai, and Tokyo, along with hubs in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and South Africa, ThinkMarkets will work with the club to bring quick and easy access to a wide range of financial trading markets to Liverpool FC supporters across the world. The global partnership will focus on bringing forward market access and game-changing technology, providing ThinkMarkets with a high-profile opportunity to promote its brand as well as its multi-asset trading products and innovative platforms.

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

Matthew Cavallo

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