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Virtu aiming for spring 2015 IPO, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Electronic trading company Virtu Financial LLC hopes to go public in the spring, about a year after it originally planned its market debut, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Virtu, a global market maker in equities, fixed income, currencies and commodities markets, is aiming for an initial public offering in April or May, said the sources, who both spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is not public.

The exact timing depends on market conditions and the regulatory environment, one of the sources said.

A spokesman for New York-based Virtu, which is backed by private equity firm Silver Lake, declined to comment.

Last April, Virtu indefinitely postponed its plans for an IPO to raise $200 million to $250 million, which would have valued the company at about $3 billion.

That decision came shortly after the release of Michael Lewis’ book, “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” which made the claim that the stock market was rigged in favor of high-speed traders. Its release nearly coincided with the filing of a high-profile lawsuit by New York’s attorney general accusing Barclays Plc of securities fraud in its U.S. alternative trading system, or “dark pool.” Barclays has denied the allegations.

Those two events led to an intense debate over the fairness of the equity markets, and the regulatory chill sent shares of public trading firms and exchanges tumbling.

That made the idea of trying to raise capital through an IPO for an electronic market maker less appealing, and Virtu shelved its plans, people familiar with the matter told Reuters at the time.

Valuations have risen since then, and Virtu is looking once again to the public markets.