|APRIL 17, 2000|
|Knight/Trimark Group, Inc. Acquires Mesirow Financial's Professional Execution Business|
JERSEY CITY, N.J., and CHICAGO, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Knight/Trimark Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: NITE) and Mesirow Financial, Inc. today announced that Knight Financial Products, LLC (formerly Arbitrade, LLC), a subsidiary of Knight/Trimark, has acquired the Professional Execution business, certain related assets and the floor brokerage operations of Mesirow Financial and Mesirow Europe Ltd.
"This acquisition is another building block in our effort to expand our product line and diversify our revenue stream," said Kenneth D. Pasternak, the president and chief executive officer of Knight/Trimark Group. "We believe that options will play an increasingly important role for the global trading village. Mesirow Financial's Professional Execution business will provide us with global capabilities in the options industry and will enable us to process orders in all listed options in the U.S."
"We pride ourselves on our ability to respond to the needs of our clients. Now we will be able to offer our clients a one-stop shop for the execution and clearance of their options transactions," said Peter Hajas, the chief executive officer of Knight Financial Products. "We are committed to becoming the best options market maker in the world and this acquisition is another step toward achieving that goal. Our purchase of Mesirow Financial's Professional Execution business immediately provides us with an experienced team of options execution professionals. We expect to receive OCC membership approval within the next six weeks, and to grow our options execution business aggressively worldwide."
"This sale offers us a tremendous opportunity," said James C. Tyree, Mesirow Financial's chairman and chief executive officer. "It allows us to focus on our core Fully Disclosed clearing, Private Client Services, Institutional Markets and Investment Management businesses while putting the execution business into the hands of experts committed to being the best in the industry. We can concentrate our resources on what we do best, which is providing quality advice to clients."
The 68 employees associated with and in support of Mesirow Financial's Professional Execution business will become employees of Knight Financial Products, effective by the end of June. Consummation of the acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval.
Knight/Trimark Group, headquartered in Jersey City, NJ, is the parent company of Knight Securities, Knight Capital Markets (formerly Trimark Securities) and Knight Financial Products (formerly Arbitrade, LLC). Knight/Trimark's subsidiaries make markets in equity securities listed on Nasdaq, the OTCBB of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and American Stock Exchange (AMEX), and in options on individual equities, equity indices, fixed income instruments and certain commodities in the U.S. and Europe. The firm also maintains an asset management business for institutional investors and high net worth individuals through Knight Financial Products' Deephaven subsidiary.
As the number one destination for online trade executions, Knight/Trimark is the processing power behind the explosive growth in securities trading via the Internet. The firm was recently selected to Fortune's "e-50 Stock Index," an elite collection of companies that are shaping the new Internet-based economy. In addition, Knight was selected to the "Forbes 500," a ranking of the most profitable companies in the U.S. Currently, the four-year-old company employs more than 900 people worldwide with offices in Jersey City, NJ; Jericho, White Plains, Purchase and New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Minnetonka, MN; Santa Clara, CA; and London, England. Knight/Trimark Group can be found on the Internet at http://www.knight-sec.com .
Mesirow Financial is a diversified financial services firm based in Chicago. Since 1937, the firm has been a leader in serving the financial needs of individuals, businesses and institutions such as state and city governments, with its distinct practices in Investment Management, Securities Brokerage, Insurance Services, Investment Banking and Real Estate. With more than $3 billion in assets under management, the firm employs over 700 people in nine offices across the country. It can be found on the Internet at www.mesirowfinancial.com. SOURCE Knight/Trimark Group, Inc.
CONTACT: Margaret Wyrwas of Knight/Trimark Group, 201-557-6954, or Debbie Krieps of Mesirow Financial, 312-595-6260/