The UK’s competition watchdog has ruled that US company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) must sell London-based commodities trading software house Trayport.
ICE, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, bought Trayport last December for $650m (£534m), beating rival CME Group to the deal.
In an announcement today, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) noted that there is a “high level of dependence on Trayport’s integrated software offering”, with alternatives considered to be “weak and barriers to entry in this market... high”.
“We found that the merged company would have the ability and incentive to use its ownership of Trayport to restrict the competitiveness of ICE’s rivals,” said inquiry chair Simon Polito.
“This could lead to a range of adverse consequences for traders and venues in the vitally important wholesale energy markets including higher prices, a general worsening of terms and quality and less innovative trading solutions.
“Having looked at this in detail and sought views from a range of market participants, we believe that the only effective way to preserve competition is to require ICE to sell Trayport.”
In August, when the CMA suggested ICE should consider reversing the takeover, the US firm hit back, saying: “ICE does not agree with the findings which do not align with ICE’s vision for continuing to operate Trayport as an open and autonomous software provider.”