ASX moves to sell IRESS stake

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is selling its interest in technology provider, IRESS.

In an announcement issued late today, ASX Limited said it had entered into an underwriting agreement to sell its 18.6 per cent shareholding in IRESS Limited.

It said the sale had been fully underwritten at a fixed price of $11.95 per share and is expected to realise gross proceeds of $385 million. 

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 Commenting on the move, ASX managing director and chief executive, Dominic Stevens said IRESS had been an attractive investment for ASX over many years but it now believed it was the right time to divest as it no longer provided the strategic value to ASX that it once did.

“ASX is focused on a multi-layered growth strategy built upon our position as an independent and reliable operator of financial market infrastructure,” he said. “When ASX invested in IRESS’s initial public offering in 2000, both ASX and IRESS were predominantly focused on servicing the Australian equities market. Since then, both businesses have successfully evolved and expanded.”

 ASX’s investment in IRESS was held at $357.9 million or $11.12 per share at 31 December 2018. The cost base of ASX’s shareholding is $151 million or $4.70 per share. The transaction will generate a post-tax gain of $161 million, which under accounting standard AASB 9 Financial Instruments (effective from 1 July 2018), will be recognised directly in equity.  

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