Knight Capital in talks for sale of market-making unit-WSJ

Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:39am EST

Nov 24 (Reuters) - Knight Capital Group Inc is in talks about possibly selling its market-making operation, its largest and most profitable business, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people briefed on the discussions.

The securities firm has been approached by at least two rivals about its market-making operation, which uses complicated computer models to match buy and sell orders in stocks and options.

Knight's board of directors is expected to get separate proposals next week for the market-making business from high-speed trading firms Getco LLC and Virtu Financial LLC, the Journal reported, citing the people who were briefed. Other potential buyers also could approach the board about that business and perhaps others.

Getco and Virtu spokespeople declined comment on the report. A Knight spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

The unit had $663.8 million in pretax profits from 2009 to 2011 but suffered a loss of $400.9 million in this year's first nine months because of a software glitch that flooded the market with errant trades on Aug. 1.

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