Options' acquisition of Activ signals jobs growth in Belfast

Announcing its original entry into Belfast nearly a decade ago is Options Technologies' Danny Moore (left) with Barry McBride from Invest NI. Options has just acquired financial market data specialist Activ, signalling further job growth in Belfast
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BELFAST-based Options Technology, founded nearly 20 years ago as a hedge fund technology services provider, has paid an undisclosed sum to acquire Activ Financial.

As a long-term provider of global capital markets services, the deal will reinforce Options’ commitment to continually add value and optimise its offering to capital markets firms.

And it could also signal a move towards creating more jobs in Belfast, where it already has a payroll of close to 100.

Options, which also has offices in London and New York, is headed by Danny Moore, who previously led Belfast-based trading technology firm Wombat Financial Software, which in 2008 was acquired by NYSE Euronext for $200 million (about £145m).

Three years ago Options announced that it would grow its Belfast workforce to more than 100 when it moved to a new base in Linen Loft on Adelaide Street.

Activ Financial is a global provider of financial market data, and Mr Moore said its acquisition will mean further growth for Options in Northern Ireland.

“We believe that merging the Activ data feed and software capabilities on top of the Options global network and infrastructure is probably the most impactful deal in the sector in the last decade,” he said.

“The industry has been crying out for a true next-generation platform focused on the coming decades, near zero latency, global, on modern hardware, fully cloud integrated, and fully backward compatible. Merging our platforms will bring all that and more.”

Steve McNeany, chief executive officer and co-founder at Activ Financial, said: “The acquisition by Options is an extremely exciting time in our history, and we are confident this deal will deliver a highly differentiated and competitive offering to both our current clients and the market as a whole.

“We believe this is the start of a new era in the market data industry providing unparalleled, fully managed market data services globally with our clients set to benefit from a wide range of strategic synergies.”

Options last year secured an investment worth more than $100 million from Boston-based private equity firm Abry Partners. This is in addition to a similar investment from New York-based private equity firm Bregal Sagemount in late 2017.

While no financial details regarding the deal for Activ were publicly disclosed, industry sources estimate it to have been in the region of $100 million.

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