Plus Markets wins investor vote on sale

PLUS Markets yesterday gained approval for the disposal of its stock exchange business to ICAP, following weeks of controversy over the move.

The sale of Plus-SX, home to Arsenal FC’s listing, for £500,000 was passed at yesterday’s general meeting – but a substantial number of abstentions means less than a third of investors backed the deal.

Kuwaiti fund Amara Dhari owns 17 per cent of Plus Markets and had campaigned against the decision to hand directors £423,000 in “settlement costs” as part of the sale. But it reluctantly abstained in order to preserve shareholder value, allowing the deal to progress.

One activist shareholder said the vote was a “stitch up”, adding that he expects the chairman, chief executive and finance director to lose their jobs at next week’s AGM.

“You could bet your house on the existing directors that are up for a vote being removed,” said investor Simon Chapman. “I don’t think there’s any doubt, particularly as there no longer any FSA concerns about who’s running the company.”

But he hinted that Plus Markets may still have a future: “There are now moves afoot to create a new business. We have a shell with some cash and a listing. I think we shall see a group rising like a phoenix from the ashes.”