Viola, Cifu’s electronic trading firm goes public

The electronic trading firm of Vincent Viola and Doug Cifu, the owners of the Florida Panthers, went public today with its IPO (initial public offering). Virtu Financial made its market debut today with 16 million shares up for sale at $19 per share, raising around $314 million. Virtu rose 21 percent to $23 per share following the sale of the shares.

The firm, operating under the stock symbol VIRT on the NASDAQ, makes use of high-speed computer to sell stocks, bonds, currencies, and more through a process known as high-frequency trading. The company has 151 employees, $3.96 billion in assets, and reported $600 million in revenue in 2013. Viola could be the first high-frequency trading billionaire after today.

Together, Virtu owners Viola and Cifu purchased the Panthers at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season for a reported $250 million. The team was one of the most active at the start of the 2014 free agency period, signing veterans Jussi Jokinen, Willie Mitchell, Dave Bolland, Derek MacKenzie, Al Montoya, and Shawn Thornton. The Panthers also acquired and resigned Jaromir Jagr under the direction of Viola and Cifu. Having a financially stable ownership group is important for the Panthers if they wish to keep their players signed and in order to make additions at the trade deadline and the start of free agency in July.

Viola and Cifu were on CNBC earlier today to talk about Virtu’s IPO, and you can watch their interview by clicking here. Both will be at the closing bell of the NASDAQ today at 4PM.

Contributions were made to this article by Joe Shafer

Source: Bloomberg Business, Fox Business

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