MarketAxess Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: MKTX) shares gained 14.3% to $27.48, after The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported on its website that the operator of an electronic bond-trading platform might be on the auction block. Volume for the stock was 1.7 million shares, or about 11 times its normal daily volume.
The Journal piece, citing folks close to the situation and substantiated Wednesday by Reuters, said that if MarketAxess decides on a sale, the company could fetch around $1.5 billion.
Though the names of the interested parties are not known, potential bidders might include Bloomberg LP, SunGard Data Systems BAINSD.UL and private equity players, said Niamh Alexander, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
“We also consider exchanges but the price might be relatively high for them, nonetheless an all-cash transaction by ICE or CME could still be accretive,” Alexander said in the Reuters story.
MarketAxess is big in electronic trading of corporate bonds and is making headway in credit derivatives ahead of planned regulations that will shift more of that market toward venues like MarketAxess.