Ullink plans NYFIX revival following purchase from ICE
French trading solutions and connectivity specialist Ullink has agreed to acquire NYFIX and Metabit from ICE Group, as part of a deal the international company says will give it brand recognition in the US and new opportunities in Asia.
NYFIX and Metabit were both previously owned by NYSE Technologies, which was acquired by ICE in November last year. NYFIX is a US-based company, founded in 1991, that focuses on FIX messaging and connectivity between the buy- and sell-sides. Its connectivity network called Marketplace is used by the buy-side for messaging, connectivity, routing and monitoring, and the business has annual revenue of about $70 million according to Ullink.
Metabit is a smaller, Tokyo-based market access company that serves Asian clients with Japanese-language DMA services that access financial markets in Asia and link 140 market participants. Its annual revenue is around $5 million, according to Ullink. Together, the two acquisitions will take Ullink’s revenue up to a combined total of just over $130 million, with 500 employees and 2,000 clients. Of these, around 200 are at NYFIX while a further 150 are at Ullink.
Ullink has highlighted enhanced buy-side penetration, new presence in the US market and increased access to Asia as its motives for the deal. The NYFIX brand will be revived and used due to its brand recognition in the US. The ideal expressed by the company is to unite the sell-side and the buy-side through better technology. According to Laurent Useldinger, chief executive at Ullink, the deal also represents the beginning of a new, more positive period for NYFIX, which has suffered from neglect in recent years.
“They’ve had a hard time at NYFIX,” Udelsinger told Banking Technology. “NYSE didn‘t invest anything. Then there were talks with Deutsche Börse that fell through. Then ICE bought them, but quickly sold it again. Every six months, something seemed to come along that prevented innovation. The word investment hasn’t been heard for a long time. Now we are talking about growing that business and bringing stability.”
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Udelsinger added that the combined company would focus on helping the sell-side to optimise the total cost of ownership of its mission-critical technologies, and that more opportunities would be pursued in post-trade and multiple asset classes.
Separately, ICE also sold NYSE Technologies’ Wombat business unit to SR Labs. Wombat is the market data management solution which encompasses SuperFeed, which offers direct connectivity to trading venues. It also includes market data feed handlers, market data usage and compliance analysis and reporting services, and Wombat Middleware, which covers messaging. ICE said it would make more announcements concerning the remaining business units of NYSE Technologies in the coming months.
“This agreement [with Ullink] completes our stated goal of taking certain stand-alone NYSE Technologies businesses and positioning them with other leading technology companies that can enable them to continue to grow and innovate on a global scale,” said Ben Jackson, president and chief operating officer, ICE Futures US and president, NYSE Technologies. “With more than one thousand firms and order execution venues connecting to NYFIX and Metabit from key trading venues around the world, we are committed to working effectively with the Ullink team to support this transition.”