Tullett Sees ‘Plenty’ of Bidder Interest in ICAP Oil Asset Sale

  • CMA has until Aug. 16 to decide if sale will ease competition
  • Tullett says it has wide European footprint following Brexit

Tullett Prebon Plc said the planned sale of ICAP Plc’s London oil desks is on track, a step that regulators require to complete a deal between the two firms.

ICAP has offered to sell oil-brokerage operations to appease the U.K.’s competition regulator, which had threatened to launch a full-scale investigation into the 1.1 billion-pound ($1.5 billion) transaction. As part of the deal, which Tullett expects will complete this year, the company will buy ICAP Global Broking Business to become by far the largest broker of deals between investment banks.

“There has been a lot of interest, and ICAP have been working very hard with a number of bidders to find a new home for those brokers,” Tullett’s Chief Executive Officer John Phizackerley said Tuesday in a phone interview. “It’s on track. There is plenty of interest.”

The Competition and Markets Authority has until Aug. 16 to decide whether the asset sale would prevent any lessening of competition in the oil-products market. The companies could avoid an inquiry lasting about 36 weeks if the CMA rules in their favor.

Tullett said today operating profit rose 11 percent while sales gained 4 percent in the six months ending June 30, compared to the same period last year. The London-based company said it has a “wide European footprint,” and doesn’t see big changes to its business following the U.K. decision to leave the European Union.

Creditex Purchase

Tullett agreed last week to buy Creditex, the voice-broking operations of Intercontinental Exchange Inc. The deal will give Tullett a team of 14 brokers that provide voice and hybrid-voice broking and trading services for credit derivatives, with annual revenue of about $11 million.

“We are always attracted, or certainly interested in, businesses which we think are high touch and add value and are complementary,” Phizackerley said. “We have this policy, which internally we call grazing, which is looking for attractive bolt-on acquisitions that would have a good home at Tullett Prebon.”

Tullett also says it’s opening a technology center in Belfast, expected to employ about 300 people by 2019. It will provide development and technical support for Tullett’s global business.

— With assistance by Patrick Gower

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