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Foreign Exchange

Private equity firm Summit acquires majority stake in 360T

Summit Partners, the US private equity firm that invests in software and financial services companies, has bought a majority stake in 360T, the Frankfurt-based multi-dealer trading platform announced on Friday.

In a short statement released today, 360T, which was founded by CEO Carlo Koelzer and Mathew Kuppe in 2000, said the investment will position the company for continued strong global growth, but gave no further details of the transaction. Summit Partners is familiar with the trading software sector, having been a pre-IPO investor in optionsXpress, which was acquired last year by Charles Schwab for about $1 billion. It also acquired a stake in Liquidnet, an institutional equities platform that specialises in block trades, in 2005.

However, according to Gerald Segal from LeapRate, this is an unusual investment for Summit, in that it typically prefers to remain a significant, but minority, shareholder.

For instance, it held a 32% stake in optionsXpress when it went public in 2005. Indeed, rarely do individual venture capital firms take majority control of companies, Segal says in a note on Friday.

360T has experienced rapid growth in the past few years. Its head of sales Alfred Schorno told EuromoneyFXNews last month that average daily volumes on its platform had now reached $50 billion, and volumes have increased 40% in 2011, which he says outpaced the market average. 360T has traditionally been known as a venue for non-financial corporate, but has expanded into financials over recent years.

Corporates now make up 45% of its clientele, while 40% is made up of non-market making banks, and the balance is asset managers, according Schorno.

In EuromoneyFXNews’ inaugural e-trading survey, released last month, 360T was voted the second-most popular multi-dealer platform by buy-side respondents, behind FXall and ahead of Bloomberg’s FXGO.

Last month it was officially announced that 360T had expanded its retail FX offering by acquiring Finologic, the technological arm of Finotec Group.

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