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Talking Intelligent Trading with Andrew Delaney: The Long and Winding Road to (CSC’s) Heart

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Hats off to Hugh Hughes and the team at Fixnetix, who’ve sold the company to CSC (Computer Sciences Corp.), in a deal that gives the small but influential provider of managed services for trading the muscle it has craved for so long.

It’s been a long journey with many twists and turns. Fixnetix has been on and off the sales block for as long as we can remember (although it’s true that every company is for sale at any time if the price is right).

The smart money thought Hughes had nailed it with his deal a few years back with NYSE Technologies, which gave the exchange technology group a 25% stake in Fixnetix. But all that unravelled in the wake of the ICE acquisition, seemingly leaving Fixnetix high and dry.

Undeterred though, it seems, Hughes and his management team have bounced back to secure a transaction with CSC, a large provider of IT services, that can give the smaller provider the clout to expand its offerings. Terms haven’t been disclosed.

For CSC, Fixnetix expands the range of as-a-service capabilities it can offer to front-office clients, and adds to its broader offerings within the trading, market data, hosting, infrastructure, connectivity and risk management areas.

As Steve Hilton, executive vice president and general manager, Global Infrastructure Services at CSC, put it: “Fixnetix will be a key component to the implementation of our infrastructure strategy and will advance CSC as a leader in providing managed services to capital markets firms throughout the world.” Adding Fixnetix, he said, would help CSC deliver the security, availability, lower-cost service delivery and usage-based pricing clients require.

Fixnetix can be credited with pioneering the managed services model within the hedge fund and proprietary trading communities, specifically when it comes to low-latency market data and connectivity. Eyebrows were raised when the company moved its London HQ to the edge of Mayfair, but it knew what it was doing.

Initially built on the back of former Wombat Financial Software (later NYSE Technologies) feedhandlers, Fixnetix was an early leader in applying the managed services concept to the low-latency trading environment. This was of particular appeal to hedge funds, which sought to outsource as much operations and infrastructure as possible so as to focus on the business side of the equation.

Through CSC’s backing, says Hughes, CEO and chairman of Fixnetix, “we will gain the resources that we need to better respond to market demand, effectively address bigger deployments, and build on our established success. CSC’s proven at-scale reputation to deliver across all industries will fundamentally bring greater credibility and presence to Fixnetix.”

The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter. The largest shareholder in Fixnetix is Delta Partners, a venture capital firm that invested in the company at start-up.

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