ICAP reaches last minute deal to acquire PLUS Markets

British interdealer broker ICAP Plc (LON:IAP) said it had reached an agreement to buy company equity exchange PLUS Stock Exchange plc (PLUS-SX) from its parent Plus Markets Group plc (LON:PMK) for a token price of GBP1.00 (USD1.60/EUR1.24).

Plus Markets was planning to close the exchange last week, after failing to attract a buyer.

The deal for the loss-making exchange needs to secure the approval of PLUS Markets Group shareholders and clearance from the financial regulator FSA, the buyer said.

ICAP, a top interdealer broker for the wholesale financial markets offering voice broking as well as electronic trading, is in a good position to leverage the exchange status of PLUS to provide new products and solutions, including listed derivatives in the future, the buyer said.

The agreement comes after PLUS Stock Exchange confirmed the negotiations with ICAP on 17 May for a nominal value deal due to the loss making nature of its unit.

Earlier on 14 May, PLUS Stock Exchange said it would close down as it had failed to find a buyer during the formal sale process unveiled in February aimed at securing a partner to help it achieve the scale and reach needed to maximise shareholders value.

The company explained then it was seeking to secure the financial position of the PLUS exchange and the continued operations of its units PLUS Stock Exchange plc (PLUS-SX), RIE, PLUS Trading Solutions Limited (PLUS-TS), and PLUS Derivatives Exchange Limited (PLUS-DX).

In its current statement, ICAP said it remains totally committed to supporting and expanding the equities listings venue that offers growth capital for small firms, while exploring other possibilities.

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Asia-Pacific stock markets rebound on G8 comments

Stock markets in Asia and Australia recovered slightly on Monday as G8 members, meeting over the weekend, said they would do everything in their power to avoid another full blown financial crisis

The Nikkei 225 index in Japan gained 0.4%, after dropping sharply on Friday as a result of worries of Greece and the effect a prolonged European debt crisis could have on the global economy. Australian shares rose by 0.7% after hitting a six month low last week.

“The fate of Greece won’t become clear until the election, and markets will be swung around by comments from European leaders in the meantime, all of which makes it extremely difficult for investors to take any positions,” said Hirokazu Yuihama, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo, told Reuters.

“Today’s move is merely a rebound from sharp losses on Friday and it doesn’t have momentum to rise strongly. The G8 outcome lacked the punch to give much incentive for markets.”

US president Barack Obama said that he had faith in Europe’s ability to tackle the sovereign debt crises, but added that Europe must now focus on jobs and growth, echoing the words of newly elected French president Francois Hollande.

Following the comments made at the G8 summit, the EU issued a statement saying that the focus needs to remain equally on austerity and growth.

Greek Tsakos Energy braves equity markets via book-runner Credit Suisse

Greek energy transportation group Tsakos Energy Navigation (NYSE:TNP) has decided to tap investors for fresh equity, despite continuing worries of the Greek economy and the European sovereign debt crisis, the New York-listed firm said.

The company has mandated Credit Suisse as the book-runner for the stock offering. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) has been hired as senior co-manager for the offering, while Clarkson Capital Markets, Dahlman Rose & Co and Brock Capital are co-managing the issue.

Tsakos Energy is issuing 10m ordinary shares at a price of USD6.50 (EUR4.95) each, 3.4% below the closing price of the company’s stock on 18 April. The underwriters also have the right to buy up to an additional 1.5m shares within 30 days of the closing of the offering. Affiliates of the company’s biggest shareholder, Tsakos Holdings Foundation, have agreed to buy 2m of the shares offered by Tsakos Energy.

The stock is being issued by means of a prospectus supplement and accompanying base prospectus pursuant to a shelf registration statement previously filed with and declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The closing of the sale is expected on 24 April, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Tsakos Energy expects gross proceeds of around USD65m from the offering. It intends to use the funds to finance growth initiatives, working capital and other general corporate purposes.

Jongleurs plan to float on the stock market

The comedy brand, that helped launch Peter Kay and Michael McIntyre to fame, next plan is to float on the stock market in the next 18 months to finance its development plans.

 

Jongleurs was founded in 1983 by Maria Kempinska, who now plans to open seven new comedy clubs over the next three years. There are also future plans to take the brand over seas and further increase its franchise network.

 

Jongleurs was sold in 2000 to Regent Inns which made Kempinska a multimillionaire. However Kempinska and John Davy regained control of the comedy band following Regent Inns collapse in 2009.

 

They each own one third of the organisation, with the final third owned by finance director Marios Lourides.

 

Before its launch on the stock market, the comedy clubs hopes to attract new investors which will be used for website development and TV pilots. In exchange for £500,000 needed, new investors will hold 11%

 

The organisation also has plans to build on the 2,000 stand-up acts it already employees, hoping to build a global database of acts. Jongleurs are also predicting a rapid increase in turnover, currently at £1.9million, the organisation hopes that by 2013 it will have reached £10.3million.