Is This The Top? HFT Firm Files For IPO

Tyler Durden's picture

Having sold his 7-bedroom NY mansion, the CEO of Virtu Financial (the high-frequency-trading firm that accounts for 5% of US equity trading volume) appears to believe investors are ripe for him to IPO his firm. As The FT reports, New York-based Virtu is aiming to raise between $250-$350m from a listing that would make it the first electronic trading business that trades with its own funds to launch an IPO. The question, of course, is, will Virtu be the top-ticking, greater-fool-finding IPO of this bubble that Blackstone was for the last one?

 

Via The FT,

Virtu, a global proprietary electronic trading company that employs high frequency strategies, is aiming to raise around $300m from a listing that would value it at around $3bn, as it too seeks a market debut around that time, some of these people and others added.

 

...filed confidentially under a provision of a recent US securities reform act which allows companies with revenues of less than $1bn to keep the process confidential until nearer the time of an IPO.

 

...

 

New York-based Virtu is aiming to raise between $250-$350m from a listing that would make it the first electronic trading business that trades with its own funds to launch an IPO.

 

Goldman Sachs is leading the listing along with JPMorgan Chase and Sandler O’Neill. The banks and Virtu, which is part-owned by Silver Lake Partners, declined to comment.

 

Virtu’s prospectus will provide a rare glimpse into the world of a secretive high-speed trading firm. The company, which employs about 150 people, had earnings of about $275m before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation last year, up from about $240m a year before, one person added.

 

Its listing will be a milestone for Vinny Viola, an Army sergeant and former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, who founded the business in 2002. Virtu’s board includes General John Abizaid, the former commander of the US Central Command, this person added.

 

Mr Viola, presently chief executive, will assume the role of executive chairman upon the listing and Douglas Cifu will take on the chief executive role, one person said. Chris Concannon, a former Nasdaq executive who joined the company in 2009, will become chief operating officer.