Keyboards and conspiracies
Well it’s been an eventful period for Icap FX Spot, as EBS is now known. Following last week’s column, I got several phone calls telling me some of the buzz surrounding the company’s sale to Icap; various conspiracy theories as to why Jack Jeffery had resigned; and the wrongs and rights of allowing the buy side access to the EBS platform through keyboards.
It’s well documented that Icap had a free run at EBS. Tullett Prebon was involved to an extent, but my view is that it was never serious; it’s only intention was to get Michael Spencer to pay more. I understand that Nasdaq took a peek, but the board was wary of selling to an exchange, and that the only other potential suitor was Thomson. I reckon the market should breathe a sigh of relief that nothing happened there. With private equity barred from bidding, the only buyer was Icap. Apparently, the shareholder banks wanted an owner they thought they could trust and perhaps even control. I can’t see how Michael Spencer fits this profile, but the talk is that various guarantees were given, which was enough to placate most of EBS’ board. I say most, because I hear two did categorically not want to sell and one other was very much of the view that the company was being given away too cheaply.