TradeWeb launches new marketplace; MarketAxess feels M&A pressure

TradeWeb launches new marketplace; MarketAxess feels M&A pressure

Thomson TradeWeb has teamed with Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and UBS to launch a new online market for trading US convertible bonds.

The dealer-to-client system will offer an inventory of products, real-time price data and execution services.

The platform is the 17th online fixed-income market from Thomson TradeWeb, which already offers trading in US corporate bonds, credit default swaps and European credit.

The launch comes as TradeWeb faces increasing competition from investment banks setting up their own alternative trading and pricing venues. Earlier this week, ABN Amro, HSBC, and SocGen, threw their weight behind LiquidityHub, an electronic platform for fixed income products developed by a group of twelve top dealing firms.

The LiquidityHub banks also announced a data distribution deal with Reuters and Bloomberg, effectively sidelining Thomson’s TradeWeb.

However, the proposed merger agreement between Thomson and Reuters promises to shift the landscape for electronic trading of bonds and over-the-counter credit instruments. TradeWeb will be viewed as a valuable resource by Retuers’ executives as they bid to beef up the company’s buy-side portfolio. Previous attempts by Reuters to enter TradeWeb’s territory have failed to make an impression.

Attention will also switch to MarketAxess - the rival platform to TradeWeb and Bloomberg’s BondVision platform - as a possible takeover target. Market speculation in recent days has singled out interdealer broker Icap as a possible predator.

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