Alternative to USM sought

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The Independent Online
RONALD COHEN, chairman of Apax Partners, the venture capital firm, still intends to press ahead with alternative plans for a stock market to cater for what he describes as 'entrepreneurially-managed growth companies', writes William Kay.

This follows Friday's decision by the London Stock Exchange to wind up its Smaller Companies Working Party and commission Mori, the opinion research organisation, to 'establish the level of demand for a market separate from the Official List'.

Mori is due to report by the end of March, when the board of the Exchange will take what it calls the final decision on the Working Party's recommendations.

On 17 December the board caused uproar when it decided not to publish a report by the working party that the Unlisted Securities Market be replaced by what it called an Enterprise Market. The USM is due to die in 1996, when European Union rules will in effect eliminate distinctions between it and the official list.

There is a clear split among the former members of the working party, broadly along the lines of those in the venture capital industry and those more closely attached to the stock market.

Owners of young companies want a USM replacement, as it would carry inheritance tax advantages not available to shareholders in companies listed on the main market.

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