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Wall Street Firms to Acquire Stakes in Philadelphia Stock Exchange, and more

Wall Street Firms to Acquire Stakes in Philadelphia Stock Exchange, NYMEX Europe Taps OMX to Support Open Outcry Futures Exchange, ISE Explores Membership in CTA and OTC/UTP Plans, Soleil Securities Chooses iStar Workstation for CRM

Wall Street Firms to Acquire Stakes in Philadelphia Stock Exchange

The Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX) announced on Tuesday that four more investment banks -- Citigroup, Credit Suisse First Boston, Morgan Stanley and UBS -- are acquiring a combined 25 percent equity stake in the exchange.

Each firm will have provisions to increase its stake based on specific performance criteria, the release stated.

Morgan Stanley will invest $7.5 million for 10 percent of the shares outstanding, with the option of increasing its stake up to 19.9 percent. Citigroup, CSFB and UBS will each invest $3.5 million for 5 percent each of the shares outstanding, with each receiving a warrant to increase its stake up to 9.9 percent.

These transactions fall on the heels of Merrill Lynch and Citadel Derivatives Group each taking 10 percent equity stakes in the Philadelphia exchange on June 16. If all warrants were fully exercised, the six strategic investors would own nearly 90 percent of the exchange, according to the release.

"We expect that all six of our strategic investors will achieve their performance criteria and will be entitled to exercise their warrants in full as of June 30, 2006," stated Meyer "Sandy" Frucher, chairman and CEO of the PHLX.

The PHLX completed its de-mutualization in January 2004, which made it possible to add the investment banks as strategic investors.

"These alliances will help us become a strong new competitive force in the rapidly consolidating securities marketplace," further stated Frucher in the release. "Our long-term objective -- to offer multiple product classes traded in one venue, at a competitive cost -- will ensure that the investing public is not captive to the forces of market center convergence," the CEO adds.

In addition, the PHLX says it intends to make a share buyback offer to its original shareholders in the amount of $900 per share, subject to certain terms, conditions and procedures.

NYMEX Europe Taps OMX to Support Open Outcry Futures Exchange

NYMEX Europe Limited signed a five-year agreement with OMX for IT infrastructure services for the open outcry futures exchange it plans to open in London, according to a release from OMX Technology on Wednesday.

The agreement includes hosting its European IT infrastructure as well as desktop and network support for its trading floor. This follows an earlier decision by NYMEX Europe to lease space in OMX's London office.

"We chose to work with OMX to take advantage of their broad experience as an IT provider of mission-critical systems for the financial services industry, and to enable us to be up and running quickly," stated Samuel Gaer, CEO of NYMEX Europe Limited. He further noted that OMX has a long track record serving exchanges.

OMX says the deal represents the further expansion of OMX's Global Services business, in this case supporting financial applications not originally developed by OMX. A niche player in facilities management, OMX's core expertise is in enabling efficient securities transactions, as well as in developing and hosting sophisticated financial applications, the release stated.

NYMEX Europe initially will offer open outcry trading of Brent crude oil and gasoil futures.

ISE Explores Membership in CTA and OTC/UTP Plans

The International Securities Exchange (ISE) said it is exploring becoming a participant in the Consolidated Tape Association (CTA) plan, which covers quotation and last-sale information for stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the American Stock Exchange (Amex). In addition, ISE is exploring membership on the OTC/UTP (over-the-counter/unlisted trading privileges) plan covering quotation and last-sale information for Nasdaq stocks.

"We have always said that we would explore opportunities in other asset classes where we felt that we could add value. CTA and OTC/UTP plan membership would give us operating flexibility as we consider how to build upon our foundation as operators of the world's largest equity options exchange," stated David Krell, ISE's president and chief execution officer, in Monday's release.

Other U.S. options exchanges that compete with ISE are members of these plans, according to ISE.

Current participants in CTA include: the Amex, Boston Stock Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, Chicago Stock Exchange, National Association of Securities Dealers, National Stock Exchange, NYSE, ArcaEx/Pacific Exchange and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

Soleil Securities Chooses iStar Workstation for CRM

Soleil Securities Corporation selected Star Workstation 1.0 for Institutional Equities from NSIGHT Enterprise Software, LLC to serve as its CRM platform.

According to the release, Soleil will deploy iStar firmwide to its equities sales and trading organization and research content provider partners.

Developed specifically for the institutional brokerage environment, iStar Workstation 1.0 delivers information, communication and analysis tools to research analytics, salespeople and traders to improve their productivity and effectiveness, according to NSIGHT, a New York-based provider of information technology solutions for the institutional finance community, in the release.

"We reviewed a number of CRM products, and iStar Workstation met 90 percent of our requirements out of the box," stated Kelly Brown, director and head of technology at Soleil, in the release.

Soleil was able to integrate its front, middle and back office on a single platform. The company also says the CRM solution will scale with its growing business.

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