ESpeed leads MTS bidding - FT

ESpeed leads MTS bidding - FT

Electronic bond trading network eSpeed has submitted the highest bid for Eurozone government debt platform MTS, beating a combined offer from bid favourites Euronext and Borsa Italiana, according to the FT.

Citing a "person close to the sale", the FT report suggests that eSpeed's bid comes closest to the EUR250 million price tag slapped on MTS by its owners. The Italian banking community has a 46% equity interest in MTS, while the remaining 54% is in foreign hands.

Cantor Fitzgerald, the interdealer broker which owns eSpeed, has bid for MTS in the past, but came up against opposition from the Italian financial community. This time Cantor is understood to have tread more carefully, promising to keep MTS under Italian juisdiction and offering stakes in the venture to Italian and foreign banks.

MTS top management is nonetheless understood to favour a takeover by Euronext and Borsa Italiana.

The FT source says news and information group Reuters declined to submit a bid, despite an initial approach.

The MTS board is set to meet on 10 May to consider the offers.

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