Last week, Plus Markets Group surprised the industry by announcing that it was looking for buyers or major strategic investors, calling time on its aim to establish itself as London’s primary exchange for fledgling companies.The exchange is home to some 159 companies including Arsenal Football Club and brewer Shepherd Neame but has experienced continuing losses and dwindling listings in recent years. All companies currently quoted on PLUS are being invited to consider Sharemark, which is owned and operated by The Share Centre (an independent UK stockbroker with 200,000 retail clients). “Last week’s announcement leaves PLUS Quoted companies and their shareholders vulnerable,” comments Sophie Murra, manager of Sharemark. “Traditionally PLUS Markets has provided a solution for smaller companies requiring access to capital and for companies whose shares are less liquid than those of larger, AIM traded stocks. At Sharemark we are an established and cost-effective trading alternative that can assist companies with an ongoing requirement for a stable market and fundraising solution specifically designed for less liquid stocks.” From now until May 6, 2012, Murra is offering free admission to Sharemark for all PLUS quoted companies. Sharemark is designed to give SMEs access to new investment from registered retail investors who have specifically expressed an interest in investing in smaller firms. “The Sharemark Primary Fundraising service enables investors to organise themselves so as to appear to the City and to companies like an institution, while leaving investment decisions in the hands of the individual investor,” explains Charles Breese, head of research at Lesmoir-Gordon Boyle and non-exec director of Hygea VCT (a Main Market and Sharemark traded stock).
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