Interdealer broker Icap has confirmed reports that it is in talks to buy electronic interbank foreign exchange dealing platform EBS.
Icap issued a brief statement confirming the acquisition talks following press reports saying that the broker was close to finalising a deal to buy the EBS platform for around $700m.
Icap says discussions are at an early stage and there can be no certainty that a transaction will take place. No price details were disclosed.
EBS was established in 1993 as a bank-backed rival to Reuters' electronic matching system. The company told reporters that it had received a number of preliminary takeover enquiries, but it was not in exclusive talks with any particular firm.
Icap said in November that it was seeking acquisitions to expand its electronic trading business following a 32% rise in e-trading volumes in the first half of the year.
News of the acquisition talks follows a report by UK broadsheet The Daily Telegraph that Icap's rival Cantor Fitzgerald is planning to float its London-based BGC Partners brokerage unit, and has plans to merge it with electronic trading business eSpeed.
Shares in Icap surged on the news that it was in talks to buy EBS, hitting a new high of 420.00 pence. The stock was trading at 416.00 pence by mid-afternoon.