Plus Rejects Gulf Merchant Takeover Bid in Favor of ICAP

June 1 (Bloomberg) -- Plus Markets Group Plc, holder of one of the five U.K. exchange licenses, rejected a takeover bid by Gulf Merchant Bank Ltd., backing a previously agreed offer from ICAP Plc for its stock-exchange unit.

“The terms put forward by Gulf Merchant are such that the Gulf Merchant proposal is materially less attractive in terms of net financial benefit to the group’s shareholders,” Plus said in a statement today. “Although the headline consideration from Gulf Merchant appears greater than that offered by ICAP.”

Plus, scheduled to close after running out of money and failing to agree terms with any buyer, in May agreed that ICAP, the world’s largest broker of transactions between banks, will pay 1 pound ($1.53) to buy its stock exchange unit. Yesterday, Gulf Merchant said it approached Plus Market with a revised offer “substantially in excess” of ICAP’s. The company didn’t reveal the terms of its offer.

Set up by former London Stock Exchange Plc executives, Plus sought to compete with LSE, and was granted exchange status in 2007. Still, it was unable to attract sufficient listings to be profitable or draw trading away from LSE, unlike other new entrants such as Bats Global Markets and Chi-X Europe Ltd.

Plus was being wound down over the next six months after failing to find a buyer. Companies listed on the exchange’s markets were told they needed to find an alternative venue.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at