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UK watchdog raises competition concerns over ION-Broadway deal

UK watchdog raises competition concerns over ION-Broadway deal

ION Group's planned takeover of Broadway Technology has been thrown into doubt after a UK watchdog ruled that the deal could raise competition concerns in the supply of electronic trading systems.

Dublin-based financial software and data company ION bought a controlling stake in American outfit Broadway earlier this year.

But the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says the acquisition raises issues around the supply of fixed income electronic trading systems.

Following a Phase 1 investigation, the CMA says ION is by far the largest supplier of these systems and Broadway is one of only two significant competitors. The other is Bloomberg.

The deal could "therefore leave customers facing a significantly reduced choice of supplier with the potential for higher prices or more onerous terms and conditions on their services".

ION has been given just five working days to address the CMA's concerns or face an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.

Joel Bamford, CMA senior director, says: "We’ve examined a wide range of evidence during this investigation, and numerous customers have raised serious concerns."

ION has built up a reputation as a highly acquisitive company having bought trading software provider Fidessa for £1.5 billion in 2018, as well as Patsystems, Wall Street Systems, Ffastfill and Rolfe & Nolan.

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