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FX M&A: Tullett squares up to eSpeed

Unsolicited approach looks as if it could get nasty.

Terry Smith, Tullett Prebon

"Our first approach to eSpeed two years ago was rejected but we continue to regard the strategic fit with Tullett Prebon as compelling"  Terry Smith, Tullett Prebon

The approach by Tullett Prebon on April 18 to buy eSpeed, the US-listed subsidiary of Cantor Fitzgerald, was always likely to result in mud-slinging. What is perhaps surprising is that this started as soon as Tullett announced the mooted deal. There is a history of bad blood between Tullett and Cantor, stemming primarily from seemingly regular attempts by both companies to poach each others’ staff. The opening salvo in the latest outbreak was fired by Terry Smith, Tullett’s pugnacious chief executive, in the official announcement of Tullett’s approach to buy eSpeed.

As well as announcing that eSpeed had rejected the $12 a share approach, Smith said that a previous undisclosed approach had been spurned two years ago. "Our first approach to eSpeed two years ago was rejected but we continue to regard the strategic fit with Tullett Prebon as compelling," he said.

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