Virtu Financial Executes on Bold Acquisition Plan

Virtu Financial recently completed the acquisition of Investment Technology Group for $1 billion, its latest in a series of acquisitions over the last several years. Virtu is one of the largest high-frequency trading and market making firms. The Company was founded in 2008 by Vincent Viola, a former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, and Douglas Cifu, a former partner at leading law firm Paul, Weiss.

Investment Technology Group is a multinational agency brokerage and financial markets technology firm focused on hedge fund and asset management clientele. It was one of the first suppliers of electronic trading services. The Company was founded in 1987 as a division of Jeffries to provide automated equity trading to institutional investors and became public in 1995 listed on Nasdaq.

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Virtu began its acquisition strategy in 2011 when it merged with proprietary trading firm Madison Tyler based in Santa Monica. It did so with the backing of leading technology focused private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. Madison Tyler was founded by Vincent Viola and David Salomon, a former arbitrage trader at Goldman Sachs.

The Company then went on to acquire a unit from Cohen Capital Group that handles NYSE Amex stocks and ETF market maker assets of Nyenburgh Holding, a high-frequency trader in European ETFs. One of its largest transactions was in July 2017, when the Company acquired KCG Holdings for $1.4 billion. KCG was a global financial services firm engaging in market making, high frequency trading, electronic execution and institutional sales and trading.

Referring to the deal closure in a recent statement, Virtu Financial stated that both firms have been working to develop a detailed integration plan over the past four months to bring Virtu’s technology, risk management and operations to ITG’s agency services.

“ITG has a long history of providing clients with superior service and value-added products,” said Doug Cifu, CEO of Virtu Financial. “We look forward to creating the premier technology-enabled market making and execution services franchise.”