Plus Markets could lose stock exchange licence

PLUS Markets said yesterday that it will lose its stock exchange licence if shareholders reject a bid for the division.

Broker ICAP has agreed to buy the unit for £1, freeing regulatory capital – but rebel investors are threatening to derail the deal.

Plus now says that if the sale does not complete by 22 June then the FSA will commence the process to revoke the exchange’s valuable licence “as soon as possible”, before warning that once begun “this process is irreversible”.

Leading rebel Simon Chapman told City A.M. that Plus Markets chief executive Cyril Theret visited him yesterday afternoon: “I did suggest that their time must be precious and the fact that they wanted to spend so much of it on a three per cent shareholder must indicate that they are running scared of the ICAP bid being voted down.

“I tried to convince them that they needed to find something which would incentivise shareholders to sell – which the ICAP agreement conspicuously fails to do.”

Chapman and other shareholders have already issued AGM motions calling for the chairman and CEO to resign.

It is understood that Plus will publicly respond to shareholder criticisms in a statement today.

Shares in Plus plummeted a further eight per cent yesterday to close at a mere 0.28p.