(Adds industry comment, background)
By Andreas Kröner
FRANKFURT, June 15 (Reuters) - Deutsche Boerse is looking at the possibility of buying currency trading platform 360T, a source familiar with the situation said on Monday, although it was not yet clear if the German exchange operator will place a binding bid.
Deutsche Boerse declined to comment on whether it was bidding, while 360T, one of a handful of multi-bank, multi-user platforms which have revolutionised foreign exchange trading over the past decade, was not immediately available to comment.
“Deutsche Boerse group regularly looks at external options for growth and follows up on them if they create value,” a spokesman for the German exchange operator said.
Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters last week that U.S. private-equity firm Summit Partners is selling the Frankfurt-based platform in a potential 600 million euro ($675 million) deal and had hired Jefferies to handle the sale.
Discussions are already advanced and a deal may be struck before the summer break, those sources said, declining to give details of which parties were interested.
Deutsche Boerse’s new Chief Executive Carsten Kengeter has said he would not rule out either bolt-on or large acquisitions as the exchange operators reviews its business targets and prospects.
With volatility, volumes and resulting returns booming in the dollar’s dramatic rally over the past year, currency trading is attracting more attention and investment from banks, retail trading houses and investors.
Deutsche Boerse’s Eurex and other major exchange groups, including CME and Nasdaq, have already positioned themselves to take a role in a more heavily regulated market, expecting more of the $5 trillion a day that is traded in currencies and related contracts eventually to wind up on some type of cleared venue.
CME declined to comment on whether it was interested in 360T. A Nasdaq spokesman also declined any immediate comment.
360T was founded in 2000 by investment banker Carlo Koelzer, building a strong business in helping big companies, particularly in the German-speaking world, to trade with multiple banks at the same time. Summit Partners took a majority stake in 2012, while peer Brockhaus retained a 10.7 percent stake and 360T employees also hold stakes. (Writing by Patrick Graham; Editing by Alexander Smith and David Evans)