Turquoise is eyeing a sale

TURQUOISE, the high-profile equity trading platform owned by a consortium of investment banks, has hired UBS to find a buyer for the business.<br /><br />The City trading platform, launched last year as a rival to existing stock exchanges, is believed to have sent out documents to 18 firms including the London Stock Exchange, Deutsche Boerse, NYSE Euronext, Chi-X Global and Nasdaq OMX. <br /><br />Turquoise chief executive Eli Lederman confirmed the company is working with UBS to &ldquo;explore strategic options.&rdquo;<br /><br />The move follows the expiry of an agreement five months ago between the founding banks that act as market-makers for the shares traded on the platform. The nine founding banks include UBS, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch.<br /><br />Turquoise&rsquo;s market share slipped to low single digits after the agreement with its founding banks ended in March, but has since regained some ground. Turquoise now accounts for 7 per cent of FTSE 100 trading, 7.7 per cent in France&rsquo;s CAC 40 and 5.7 per cent Germany&rsquo;s DAX.<br /><br />Since its launch in September last year, Turquoise has competed with other trading platforms such as Chi-X Europe and Bats Europe, as well as established exchanges like the London Stock Exchange.<br /><br />Turquoise raised a second round of capital last November and said it would be &ldquo;cash generative&rdquo; in the first quarter of 2009. But in June it said it would approach existing shareholders for a third round of fund-raising.<br /><br />Earlier in the year Turquoise held talks with Nasdaq OMX about a potential deal, but it fell through.