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Growth markets: Sarbox refugees target Aim

US growth companies faced with the increased cost of listing at home are among foreign issuers seeking a home on London’s junior market.

Perhaps one of the things that Nasdaq finds so attractive about the London Stock Exchange is that the UK market’s junior arm, Aim, reminds it of its youth.

At 35 years old, Nasdaq is starting to show its age and is increasingly losing out to its younger, more vigorous, rival.

With an average market capitalization of $1.13 billion, Nasdaq has become a senior market in all but name. And although more than half of the companies listed on the US exchange have a market capitalization of less than $250 million, larger-cap companies account for 95.5% of the total market cap.

Aim, by contrast is in the bloom of youth and is increasingly being touted as “the new Nasdaq”.

Flood of new listings

Over the past two years Aim has attracted 874 new listings, including 166 with market cap of more than £10 million ($17.6 million). Growth has been fuelled in particular by admissions of non-UK companies, of which there were 120 in 2005, twice as many as in 2004 and more than seven times the number in 2003.

Over the past three years Aim’s market cap grew by 56.8% whereas Nasdaq’s fell 5.1%.

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