PLUS stock exchange planning to close down as sales process falters

PLUS Markets Group plc (LSE:PMK), a British stock exchange for smaller firms, announced today that it is planning to close.

A formal sale process was launched by PLUS in February and the board of directors has considered various alternatives, such as potential offers for the company, offers of funding through a placing for shares in the company, the injection of capital into a subsidiary, the sale of certain assets and loan financing. Discussions were held with various interested parties, including major international stock exchanges and trading platforms, inter dealer brokers, technology providers, private equity and other wealth funds.

It was revealed in April that indicative proposals had been put forward by a number of parties, but PLUS announced today that an acceptable takeover offer has not been received to date and the company’s cash reserves have decreased.

The loss-making group has now informed the Financial Services Authority (FSA) that it intends to commence a process of “orderly closure”. In order to minimise market disruption, the plan is to wind down its regulated activities, including the operation of PLUS Stock Exchange plc (PLUS-SX), over a period of up to six months. This will be done in consultation with the FSA.

During the winding-down process PLUS has pledged to work to ensure that companies traded on the PLUS-quoted market are able to find suitable alternative arrangements for the trading of their shares.

For the time being the PLUS market will continue to operate as normal.

PLUS said that its board will continue to explore all possible options to preserve the remaining shareholder value, including any offers for the company’s remaining assets. The board will then consider what steps to take to either return any residual value to shareholders or to convert the company into an investing company under AIM Rules.

As well as PLUS Stock Exchange plc (PLUS-SX), PLUS operates PLUS Trading Solutions Limited (PLUS-TS) and PLUS Derivatives Exchange Limited (PLUS-DX).

For more on this story, click here.