Macaskill on markets: NEX's Michael Spencer – a title for the billion dollar broker?
A sale of NEX will generate close to a billion dollars for brokerage founder Spencer. Will it also bring him closer to the aristocratic title he craves?
NEX announced in March that it had been approached by CME Group about an acquisition. CME dwarfs NEX in size – the Chicago exchange group has a market capitalization around $55 billion, while its London-based electronic dealing and post-trade servicing target NEX was valued at around £2.5 billion before news of a possible bid leaked.
Michael Spencer owned 17.37% of NEX after he completed the sale of its voice hybrid brokerage business to Tullett Prebon at the end of 2016, and repositioned the business he had founded in 1986 as Intercapital (which later morphed into Icap).
NEX comprises the FX and bond electronic brokerage platforms from the former Icap, along with a variety of post-trade processing services.
Spencer rebranded NEX as a financial technology company in the way that has become fashionable for trading-dependent firms attempting to boost their stock prices. This trend has spread to big banks such as Goldman Sachs as well as a bewildering array of fintech start-ups.
NEX is certainly a major player in electronic broking and processing, but its share price was underpinned by the potential for a takeover bid from a bigger exchange firm.