ASX to sell IRESS investment

The ASX is offloading its entire stake in financial software company IRESS for $358 million with UBS managing the sale.

ASX Limited invested in IRESS's initial public offering in 2000 when both were predominantly focused on servicing the Australian equities market.

"Since then, both businesses have successfully evolved and expanded," ASX managing director and chief executive Dominic Stevens said.

"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. ASX is focused on a multi-layered growth strategy built upon our position as an independent and reliable operator of financial market infrastructure."

UBS AG Australia has underwritten the sale at $11.95 per share. This will mean that the ASX's 18.6% share of IRESS is expected to realise gross proceeds of $385 million. UBS is also acting as the sole lead manager and the bookrunner for the sale.

The transaction will generate a post-tax gain of $161 million, to be recognised directly in equity per the latest accounting standards.

The ASX is reviewing its options for the proceeds of the sale and will provide an update upon completion of the review, it said.

IRESS chief executive Andrew Walsh acknowledged ASX's announcement.

"The ASX has been an IRESS shareholder since our initial public offering in 2000. Since that time we have continued to maintain and grow our Australian business in trading, market data and wealth, while also growing into a strong and diversified international technology company," Walsh said.

"We thank the ASX for its support over many years."

IRESS reported group revenue of $465 million in 2018 which is 8% higher than the previous year. NPAT was up 7% to $64 million.

Read more: ASXIRESSUBS AG AustraliaAndrew WalshDominic Stevens
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