GA takes Saxo stake

General Atlantic, the US-based private equity firm, agreed to pay DKr728m (US$127m) for less than 30% of Saxo Bank, a Danish technology focused investment bank.

General Atlantic, which has US$8bn under management and has invested in financial services back-office and trading technology companies, including E*Trade and Archipelago, has bought into Saxo’s online trading technology.

Peter Lerbrandt, the former chairman of Saxo, and other former employees have sold their shares in the bank, leaving majority control still in the hands of founders and current joint chief executives Kim Fournais and Lars Seier Christensen.

“We are encouraged by Saxo Bank’s multi-product trading capabilities, its access to the deepest liquidity pools, and its ongoing commitment to world-class technology,” said Florian Wendelstadt, managing director at General Atlantic. “Together, these factors will allow Saxo Bank to capitalise on the strong secular trends driving increased electronic trading globally.”

Started in 1992, Saxo saw net profits more than double to DKr109,000 in 2004. As well as trading and providing services to its own clients in 120 countries, Saxo provides a white-label multi-product trading platform to more than 50 other firms.

This trading system is free, compared with rivals such as E*Trade, with Saxo taking a minority slice of the clients’ trading volumes.