Icap has moved to appease dissident shareholders looking to derail its acquisition of Plus Stock Exchange by raising the purchase price to £500,000 from £1.
Amara Dhari Investments and private shareholder Simon Chapman earlier this month tabled a resolution to remove Plus Markets Group chairman and CEO Malcolm Basing and Cyril Theret from the board over their proposals to sell the small cap exchange business to Icap for £1.
In a statement released today, Icap acknowledges the frustration expressed by shareholders, but points out that failure to approve the transaction by 21 June will result in the FSA taking action to remove Plus's exchange status.
"At that point the winding down of the market will become irreversible and PMG's shareholders will bear the costs of closing Plus," states Icap. "It will also cause significant disruption and additional cost to the companies listed on the Plus market."
Nonetheless, the interdealer broker has offered an olive branch to shareholders by raising the purchase price for the small cap market to £500,000.
States Icap: "It has required PMG to confirm that the sum will be added to the amounts of cash available to the shareholders of PMG, for distribution or reinvestment. This is intended to insulate shareholders from the costs of certain contractual payments triggered by the sale of Plus."
Icap's primary interest is in the acquisition of Plus' Recognised Investment Exchange status, one of only five in the UK. Icap says it will maintain quotation for the companies listed on the Exchange and will look to add additional services in the future, including listed derivatives.