ASX Limited, operator of the Australian Securities Exchange, is selling its entire shareholding in software company IRESS.
The sale, expected to raise $385 million, marks the end of a nearly two decade investment by ASX in the financial software and services provider.
“IRESS has been an attractive investment for ASX over many years. But we believe now is the right time to divest as it no longer provides the strategic value to ASX that it once did,” said ASX’s managing director Dominic Stevens in a statement late this afternoon.
The software company worked with ASX for many years on its trading platform for financial market and wealth management participants, and was a foundation customer of the exchange’s co-location facility, the Australian Liquidity Centre.
The ASX – which has an 18.6 per cent shareholding in IRESS – is currently replacing its decades-old Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) with blockchain-inspired distributed ledger technology (DLT).
The new system will see market participants run a DLT 'node', giving them access to essentially the same ledger held by the ASX and all other participants. ASX in early 2016 revealed that it had acquired a stake in New York-headquartered Digital Asset Holdings which is developing the underlying technology.
As of June last year, ASX held a seven per cent stake in Digital Asset, valued at $5 million.
“ASX is focused in a multi-layered growth strategy built upon our position as an independent and reliable operator of financial market infrastructure. When ASX invested in IRESS’s initial public offering in 2000, both ASX and IRESS ere predominantly focused on servicing the Australian equities market. Since then, both businesses have successfully evolved and expanded,” Stevens added.
ASX said it was reviewing its options for the proceeds of the sale.