Knight Capital and Getco formally approve merger

Still unclear what exactly will happen to Knight Capital Forex ECN unit Hotspot FX.

Equity market makers Knight Capital and Getco have announced that shareholders of both entities have overwhelmingly approved the merger of the two companies at separate votes held today — the last formal hurdle to closing the transaction. Unless something strange happens, Knight Capital will cease to exist as a separate public company next Monday, July 1, and the deal will formally close.

Those of us in the forex industry world watching this transaction continue to be interested in the ultimate fate of Knight Capital Forex ECN unit Hotspot FX. Getco, the acquirer, was not until now in the Forex business, and the deal with Knight Capital is clearly centered on combining the two firms’ competitive equity market making businesses.

Until now, both Knight Capital and (more importantly) Getco management have insisted that Hotspot FX is not for sale. However things said before a merger closes, and after, often change quickly. And with Hotspot FX volumes recently hitting two-year highs, and Forex industry company shares trading at several-year highs, it certainly would be a good time to look at selling Hotspot FX. Larger Forex ECN rival FXall was acquired last year for $625 million by Thomson Reuters. 

Should Getco soon look to sell Hotspot FX, we estimate that Hotspot FX’s valuation would likely be in the $150-200 million range — perhaps even higher given Hotspot FX’s recent healthy volumes and results — and that would go a long way toward helping finance the acquisition.

For the Knight Capital press release click here.

For more on the global Forex industry see the LeapRate-Dow Jones Forex Industry Report.



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