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Cerberus may join Virtu bid for Knight Capital: WSJ

Traders work at the Knight Capital kiosk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange August 3, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Traders work at the Knight Capital kiosk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange August 3, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Cerberus Capital Management LP is in talks to join Virtu Financial LLC's bid for U.S. brokerage Knight Capital Group Inc , the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

Virtu and rival electronic trading firm Getco Holding Co have made competing bids for the Jersey City, N.J.-based Knight, valuing the company at a minimum of $1.1 billion.

Knight was made vulnerable to a takeover this summer when a trading glitch left it nearly bankrupt before a group of investors stepped in with $400 million in emergency capital.

Cerberus' participation in Virtu's bid would add another deep-pocketed investor to a group that also includes Silver Lake Partners and banks such as Credit Suisse Group AG , the Journal said. It added that the extent of Cerberus's potential role in the group was still under discussion.

Knight's board met again on Monday to review the proposals, though no imminent decision on a deal was expected, according to people familiar with the negotiations, the Journal reported.

Directors are weighing an all-cash offer from Virtu that values Knight at between $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion including debt and would combine the two businesses into a privately held firm, sources familiar with the matter told the Journal.

Getco's bid, submitted to Knight's board November 28, is a cash-and-stock transaction valuing Knight at between $1.4 billion and $1.8 billion including debt, depending on the value of shares in the combined entity, which would remain publicly traded, the paper said.

Knight directors are also considering keeping the company independent, the Journal sources said.

(Reporting by Vishal Krishnan Menon in Bangalore; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

(This story was corrected to fix the spelling of the company name in the headline)

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