Marlin & Associates first met Hazem Dawani – CEO and cofounder of OptionsCity Software, Inc. in 2008. Over the years, members of the Marlin team continued to maintain contact with this provider of futures and options trading, risk management and analytics software.
In 2013, after raising capital from Edison Ventures, OptionsCity hired industry veteran Terry Gray as CFO. Terry had previously been CFO of Logical Information Machines, which Marlin & Associates successfully advised on its sale to Morningstar in 2008.
In 2016, OptionsCity’s management and board of directors decided to explore strategic alternatives for the business, including a potential sale of the company. After considering multiple advisors, the company selected Marlin. Leveraging its domain expertise in trading technologies, the Marlin team was able to quickly grasp and effectively communicate the cross-asset strengths of this exciting company, the management team it had built, as well as the global growth opportunities available.
Once Marlin and Management had crafted appropriate materials to find the best partner for shareholders, employees, customers and other stakeholders, the team worked with the company to identify qualified potential partners in North America, Europe and Asia – including several securities exchanges, financial institutions, financial technology firms and private equity firms with relevant domain expertise. The M&A team then reached out to those parties and managed a process that resulted in indications of interest and meetings with several highly qualified buyers. Marlin had suggested Vela Trading Technologies as an outside-the-box buyer, with strong strategic potential. Marlin & Associates had a deep understanding of Vela’s business, having formerly advised that company on its majority investment from Insight Venture Partners in 2012. From the start, both management teams were excited about the opportunities that the combination presented. The substantial synergies were apparent, and the firms’ respective cultures also appeared to be a strong fit.
On June 20, 2017, Vela and OptionsCity announced that the firms had agreed to a transaction and on June 30, 2017 the transaction closed.
Marlin & Associates acted as exclusive strategic and financial advisor to OptionsCity on its sale to Vela Trading Technologies. M&A leveraged its deep domain expertise in trading and risk management technologies to develop in-depth materials that helped communicate the strengths of OptionsCity to the marketplace and clearly communicated the growth opportunities. After thorough preparation, the Marlin team managed a methodical, cross-border process that involved the truly global buyer universe and helped the company find the best partner for all stakeholders.
Hazem Dawani, OptionsCity’s CEO, said “The Marlin & Associates team was invaluable in creating a competitive process for OptionsCity. Their deep understanding of financial technology within the global strategic and financial buyers helped create a highly successful outcome for all parties involved.”