Published On: Sun, Aug 3rd, 2014

Goldman Sachs Buying Messaging Alternative to Bloomberg

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc is close to buying a stake in Perzo Inc, looking to turn it into an alternative to a similar application being offered by Bloomberg LP, Reuters reports.

For years, Bloomberg has been dominating Wall Street messaging, but to get access, subscribers must pick up the entire data, trading and news package, costing in the neighborhood of $20 thousand a year.

Wall Street underwriters, hedge fund managers and traders use messaging programs to talk to sales staff. Which means they have to be secure, to keep all that sensitive information from leaking out. It also has to permit central monitoring, so compliance officials can inspect conversations to make sure securities trading regulations are being followed.

The Perzo applications are free. Perzo is a Palo Alto, California-based startup. Perzo’s application, unlike Bloomberg’s, is open-sourced, which means users can integrate it into their own systems and rearrange it as they see fit. Bloomberg users have to buy the whole terminal, without the option of buying just the messaging system, and certainly without the option to adapt it.

Perzo Founder and CEO is David Gurle, who worked at DEC, France Telecom, ETSI, VocalTec, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Skype and Avaya and is credited to be one of founders of IP Communications.

Perzo CTO and VP Engineering, Mike Harmon, has worked at Alcatel, Assured Access Technologies, Verlink, Madge Networks, Teleos Communications, and AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Looking to save those $20 thousand a year, and probably also welcoming competition in the area of business information, a few banks and asset managers are looking at Perzo, including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings PLC, BlackRock Inc and the hedge fund Maverick Capital Ltd, Reuters reported.

All the above companies have received term sheets for the acquisition deal and signed non-disclosure agreements.

According to Reuters, the fact that Bloomberg is so popular on Wall Street has made it difficult to get it to alter its product, and also made it hard to compete with. Banks have been looking for messaging alternatives to Bloomberg’s closed system for years, but this is the first time they may have come up with a successful alternative they can all agree on.

A source compared Bloomberg to Blackberry, which dominated the market until Apple came out with iPhone.

Reuters, for its part, has been trying to make inroads with its Thomson Reuters, which competes with Bloomberg in news, data and analytics, and also has a chat system with more than 200, 000 users – compared with Bloomberg’s 320, 000.



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