Transactions

September 2020
Jersey City, NJ
has agreed to sell the MuniBrokers buiness to
New York, NY


Background

For more than 50 years, Hartfield, Titus & Donnelly (“HTD”) has operated as a broker’s broker bringing together buyers and sellers in the secondary municipal, corporate, and mortgage backed securities markets. In addition to their voice broking, HTD also delivers riskless principal brokerage services and real time market information for a variety of fixed income market professionals through the firm’s central electronic municipal trading venue, MuniBrokers - driving the migration of municipal securities brokering from voice execution to electronic execution.

MuniBrokers connects 14 leading Municipal Securities Broker's Brokers and hundreds of institutional traders and Broker Dealers through a central electronic marketplace to trade approximately $438 million of taxable and tax-exempt municipal bonds per day, including $60 billion in available liquidity per day.  MuniBrokers is the leading aggregator of content distribution, trade processing, client connectivity and liquidity provision for the municipal inter-dealer broker market.

HTD management asked M&A to help them review their strategic and financial alternatives. M&A quickly recognized the value that MuniBrokers could bring to major participants in the electronic-trading space and created a strategy to approach them with the opportunity of owning HTD’s proprietary technology to continue electronification of the historically voice-traded municipal bond market. Then the world began shutting down due to Coronavirus.



M&A leveraged its deep domain expertise in advising capital markets software companies, in collaboration with the management team, to refine materials that clearly communicated the strength of the MuniBrokers' products and services, the municipal market's industry dynamics, and MuniBroker’s strategic placement within the market. M&A then identified a focused group of industry players that would be the likely suitors for the asset. As the Coronavirus forced global shutdowns, meetings, negotiations and due diligence reviews were virtually all done remotely. Ultimately, M&A assisted HTD in divesting the MuniBrokers' platform to MarketAxess, a leading public fixed income electronic trading platform. This acquisition is designed to expand MarketAxess’ existing municipal bond trading solution for global institutional investor and dealer clients. In addition to the acquisition of MuniBrokers, MarketAxess and Hartfield, Titus & Donnelly LLC (HTD), the leading inter-dealer municipal bond brokerage firm and the owner of MuniBrokers, have agreed that HTD will continue to use the MuniBrokers platform to ensure an uninterrupted level of liquidity is provided through the MuniBrokers platform.

Marlin & Associates acted as exclusive strategic and financial advisor to HTD on the complex carve-out of the MuniBrokers software business. M&A worked with Management and the Board to identify a targeted list of highly qualified potential partners. The M&A team then managed a competitive process that resulted in multiple indications of interest, productive management meetings and a successful transaction. M&A helped Management and the Board to evaluate the competing offers, negotiate terms and structure on the complicated purchase and licensing agreements, manage the due diligence review process, and close a transaction with MarketAxess. 

Marlin & Associates Advises Hartfield, Titus & Donnelly on its Divestiture of MuniBrokers to MarketAxess

September 16, 2020

MarketAxess to Acquire Municipal Bond Operator MuniBrokers


September 16, 2020

NEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MarketAxess Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: MKTX), the operator of a leading electronic trading platform for fixed-income securities, and the provider of market data and post-trade services for the global fixed-income markets, has entered into an agreement to acquire MuniBrokers, a central electronic venue serving municipal bond inter-dealer brokers and dealers.

MuniBrokers connects 14 leading Municipal Securities Broker's Brokers and hundreds of institutional traders and Broker Dealers through a central electronic marketplace to trade over $400 million of taxable and tax-exempt municipal bonds per day. MuniBrokers is the leading aggregator of content distribution, trade processing, client connectivity and liquidity provision for the municipal inter-dealer broker market. 

This acquisition is designed to expand MarketAxess’ existing municipal bond trading solution for global institutional investor and dealer clients. MarketAxess recently announced the expansion of liquidity provision for taxable municipal bond securities beyond the United States through its regulated trading venues in the United Kingdom, the European Union and Singapore, creating a truly global marketplace. In addition to the acquisition of MuniBrokers, MarketAxess and Hartfield, Titus & Donnelly LLC (HTD), the leading inter-dealer municipal bond brokerage firm and the owner of MuniBrokers, have agreed that HTD will continue to use the MuniBrokers platform to ensure an uninterrupted level of liquidity is provided through the MuniBrokers platform.


Chris Concannon, President and Chief Operating Officer of MarketAxess, commented, “The acquisition of MuniBrokers further bolsters our growing footprint in the municipal bond market. Connecting our leading trading technology with the liquidity of one of the industry’s largest electronic interdealer marketplace creates a compelling and diverse liquidity solution that will ultimately deliver an improved execution experience.”


“This relationship represents a great opportunity in the intermediated Municipal Securities market, leveraging the time-tested strengths of MuniBrokers, the experience of HTD as the leading Broker’s Broker and the industry-leading capabilities of MarketAxess,” said Ron Purpora, Chairman of parent company Hartfield, Titus & Donnelly. “We are eager to demonstrate the benefits of this relationship to the market and to our customers.”

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Marlin & Associates LLC acted as strategic and financial advisor to Hartfield, Titus & Donnelly.

 

About MarketAxess 

MarketAxess operates a leading, institutional electronic trading platform delivering expanded liquidity opportunities, improved execution quality and significant cost savings across global fixed-income markets. A global network of over 1,700 firms, including the world’s leading asset managers and institutional broker-dealers, leverages MarketAxess’ patented trading technology to efficiently trade bonds. MarketAxess’ award-winning Open Trading™ marketplace is regarded as the preferred all-to-all trading solution in the global credit markets, creating a unique liquidity pool for a broad range of credit market participants. Drawing on its deep data and analytical resources, MarketAxess provides automated trading olutions, market data products and a range of pre- and post-trade services.

MarketAxess is headquartered in New York and has offices in London, Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, São Paulo, Hong Kong and Singapore. For more information, please visit www.marketaxess.com.

Source: MarketAxess Holdings, Inc.

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