Instinet Agrees to Buy Bridge Trading Co.

March 1, 2005 ( - Electronic agency brokerage Instinet Group has worked out a deal with Reuters to buy Bridge Trading Company a soft-dollar institutional securities execution broker, for $21.5 million in Instinet stock.

A news release said that with operations located in St. Louis, Missouri, Bridge Trading serves more than 500 US institutional clients from regional offices around the country. On average Bridge traded over 6 million of exchange-listed shares per day in 2004. In 2001, Reuters acquired Bridge Trading as part of its acquisition of Bridge Information Systems.

The announcement said that B ridge Trading can be integrated into Instinet. With their similar agency-only business models, the combination of the two companies will give Instinet the opportunity to grow its client base, increase exchange-listed trading volume and expand its offerings to the institutional investor community, the news release said.

“We believe that Bridge Trading’s strong client-base and expertise in listed-trading will complement our already well-established pure agency brokerage business,” said Mike Plunkett, President, North America, Instinet, LLC. “In addition to an expanded offering, the potentially larger pool of Exchange-listed liquidity can substantially benefit our more than 1,500 institutional clients through improved trade quality.”

The transaction is subject to NASD approval and other customary conditions and is expected to close within eight weeks. Through year end 2005, Bridge Trading will continue to have exclusive rights to its existing Reuters Station soft-dollar clients.