One of the interesting topics at last year’s M&A Panel at the Forex Magnates London Summit that featured CEOs from FXCM, Monex Japan, Gain Capital, Saxo Bank and Alpari, was a discussion in going public. Both FXCM CEO Drew Niv and Gain CEO Glenn Stevens stated that going public has been and is a difficult journey. They stated that on the positive, it provides an exit strategy and provides greater access to banks and counterparties, but created more demands from investors.
Despite the far from positive reviews of publically traded forex companies, the appeal of an exit has kept the rumor mill running that other major brokers; specifically OANDA, Saxo Bank or Alpari would be following suit and file for an IPO. At the London event, Alpari’s UK CEO Daniel Skowronski, said that his firm was looking into going public (just not in the US).
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Among all the private firms, Saxo Bank has consistently be mentioned as an IPO candidate. With the firm expanding beyond its retail trading business to stabilize its revenue stream, counting private equity firm TPG as a 30% holder, along with its founders Lars Seier Christensen and Kim Fournais controlling a majority of the firm, Saxo Bank has all the ingredients of a potential seller. In a report from Reuters, Saxo Bank Co-CEO Lars Seier Christensen poured water on the rumors, for at least the short term as he stated that Saxo Bank was “quite happy” to be a private company, and that “there’s a lot of freedom.”
The comments about enjoying their freedom come after Christensen was the keynote speaker at #FXDebates London last week. At the event Christensen was very negative on the current financial state in Europe, saying “ the euro crisis has turned into a fatal disaster with huge consequences for the members involved. I have rarely, in my 25 years career in foreign exchange, witnessed an equally turbulent and fascinating time.” He added that the creation of the euro was a “historic failure” and believed that the “Eurozone will eventually break up.” Christensen concluded that without rationalism (which he doubted would occur), the “recession would continue for years”, “bond yields will rise”, “Bruxelles will claim more power”, and that Cyprus “WAS a template”. (full text available on Saxo Bank’s research site Trading Floor)