For Portware, FactSet Acquisition Caps 15-Year Journey

Terry Flanagan

In the span of 15 years, Portware expanded from a startup fintech concern to a leading trading-technology developer, whose systems are entrenched on the trading desks of many of the world’s largest buy-side institutions.

On Tuesday, FactSet Research Systems, a provider of financial information and analytics,  said it would buy Portware for $265 million.

“Portware is a highly innovative firm, with keen insight into the trading ecosystem, and strong recent success in the market,” Phil Snow, chief executive officer of Norwalk, Connecticut-based FactSet, said in a release. “Portware’s tools and expertise in trading are an exciting complement to our current offerings. We are excited to enhance the productivity of FactSet users as we integrate Portware into adjacent workflows within our client base.”

Founded in 2000 by Eric Goldberg and Ary Khatchikian, Portware provides broker-neutral, automated trading software for global equities, futures, options, and foreign exchange. The company has been an industry thought leader on topics such as buy-side trading empowerment, FX trading and market structure, and machine learning in trading.

Alfred Eskandar, Portware

Alfred Eskandar, Portware

Alfred Eskandar became Portware CEO in 2012, joining from Liquidnet where he ran the dark-pool operator’s U.S. trading business. Portware executives noted business expansion essentially every year — including some lean years for the industry — and more recently, a pattern of client ‘wins’ of giant investment managers.

“Portware’s explosive growth over the last three years, despite the difficult environment, is a testament to our strategy and vision for the industry, and we’re excited to bring our proven innovation and people to join the FactSet family,” Eskandar said in a release. “Like FactSet, we believe in putting our clients first and constantly thinking of ways to enhance the client experience. We’re confident that our similar cultures and commitment to excellence will result in a collaborative environment for our people and an incredible opportunity to develop new and exciting products for the industry.”

No longer just data and information providers, FactSet rivals Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters enable customers to trade efficiently through platforms such as Bloomberg Tradebook and FXall. The Portware acquisition is a shot across the bow versus those larger rivals, and stands to boost FactSet in the highly competitive business of getting and keeping screens on traders’ desks.

FactSet, which is publicly traded, will pay cash for privately owned Portware. The deal is expected to close by the end of FactSet’s first fiscal quarter, or Nov. 30, 2015.

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