Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney, Microsoft and Thomson Financial have formed a joint venture company to create a global Internet platform for capital market debt raising and new securities issuance.
The new company, dubbed i-Deal, has acquired Thomson Financial's Dalcomp bond underwriting system. Dalcomp is currently used by underwriters to communicate bond pricing information during the issuance of municipal and corporate bonds.
New York-based Dalcomp's 200 clients are among the largest broker-dealers in the US. Allen Williams, who ran the unit as president of Thomson Financial's municipal group, will continue to head Dalcomp's operations and was named a senior officer of i-Deal.
The technological platform for i-Deal is provided by Microsoft .NET enterprise servers including Microsoft BizTalk server, which provides for application integration and online B2B trading. It will use Microsoft's XML Web Services to tie together disparate and proprietary platforms and enable integration with existing back office systems.
The founding firms say i-Deal's technology will be used to support "multi-dealer, multi-product, multi-tranche and multi-currency securities offerings globally". Merrill Lynch and Salomon Smith Barney are rolling out the i-Deal system for their clients' capital-raising activities. The platform will be made broadly available to broker-dealers during the first half of 2002.
"Our relationships with Merrill Lynch and Salomon Smith Barney provide i-Deal with a strong market position and a healthy, recurring revenue base. Combined with Dalcomp, which brings i-Deal contractual relationships with virtually all the large investment firms in the US and many of the largest global firms, our market penetration is already substantial," says Scott Ganeles, i-Deal's CEO.
He says the new system will make it easy for capital markets professionals to manage the entire lifecycle of a deal. It enables participants to view transactions, monitor the calendar of financing activities, conduct online road shows, review prospectuses, access all deal-related content, enter indications of interest, receive allocations and conduct processing in all currencies through settlement.
Ganeles says the company is "committed to making certain that the protocol for the global exchange of information in securities issuance be open and compatible for all."