A week of surprises

Saxo Ditches MT4, Alpari Dubai and a Plus500 Bidding War?

Looking through the biggest news of the past week, M&A deals and partnerships took the top spot in the retail

Surprising news continued to hit Finance Magnates’ wires during the past week. Monday morning wasn’t quiet by any standards with a surprise move about the latest merger and acquisition deal for Playtech, a company where Teddy Sagi is the biggest shareholder with about one third. The ailing brokerage Plus500 got an offer to be acquired for 400 pence per share in cash.

The final valuation of the company totaled about £459.6 million, almost half the value given by the stock market merely 2 weeks ago. The move marked the continuation of Playtech’s foray into the retail foreign exchange business, after the company acquired TradeFX Limited earlier this year, the firm behind the Markets.com brand.

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Value fund manager Odey Asset Management has taken its stake above 25%

The proposal marked an interesting resolution for Plus500, given the company’s stock price decline after running into regulatory problems with the UK’s FCA. However, uncertainty remains – value fund manager Odey Asset Management has taken its stake above 25% and has been the biggest buyer of Plus500 stock in recent days.

Since Plus500 announced that it has frozen some UK client accounts due to compliance reasons, Odey’s James Hanbury, who manages the Odey Absolute Return and Allegra Developed Markets fund, has been an active buyer in the shares.

Odey issued a statement through the London Stock Exchange revealing that they didn’t plan to vote for the acquisition. They explained that they believed at 400p a share, Playtech’s bid “materially undervalues Plus500.” Odey added that even given the current regulatory issues around Plus500, they believed “the intrinsic value of the business on a longer term view is materially higher than 400p.”

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AxiCorp’s Foray into the Middle East

Multiple independent sources have confirmed to Finance Magnates’ reporters that Alpari’s Dubai unit is likely to strike a partnership deal with Australian company AxiCorp, which is the parent company of AxiTrader.

The news came about six months after the bankruptcy of Alpari U.K, whose assets and senior management have already been absorbed by the industry. While the Middle Eastern branch is a separate legal entity with a local license and team, Alpari Dubai’s clients have been affected from a technological perspective with the shut down of MT5.

That said, there has been no definitive agreement between the companies as yet and any deal hinges on the approval of the local regulator.

Saxo Bank Parted with Its MT4 Offering

Saxo Bank became the latest brokerage to break away from MetaTrader. The firm has decided to provide its clients with the option to use the Danish Bank’s new trading platform SaxoTraderGO, which has already been adopted by 35% of its client base.

The company explained that it will continue offering MT4 liquidity solutions to institutional clients and brokers. This would be made possible either via an MT4 client account linked directly to a Saxo account or through a variety of bridge solutions.

eToro Strikes a Football Partnership

In the meantime, social trading network eToro and West Ham United have announced a commercial partnership for a period of three years. The deal involves the football club’s digital media and social media channels, which will be available for the purposes of popularizing the eToro brand.

eToro joins a number of firms across Europe that have partnered with trading related companies in order to popularize their brand and gain exposure to a different set of potential clients. Arguably, the betting habits of a good chunk of football fans are an attractive demographic for trading companies to target.

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