Dark Pool Operator Liquidnet Is Said to Explore $1 Billion Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Liquidnet Holdings Inc., an operator of private trading venues, is exploring a sale that could value the company at about $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The New York-based company is working with a financial adviser to field offers, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. Bids are due in early June, they said. No final decision has been made and Liquidnet could opt to remain independent, they said.

A representative for Liquidnet declined to comment.

Founded in 1999, Liquidnet is primarily known for operating so-called dark pools, or private exchanges for trading securities that aren’t accessible to the public. It has expanded into other areas such as artificial intelligence and analytics in recent years through acquisitions.

Seth Merrin, Liquidnet’s founder, stepped aside as chief executive officer in February.

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