London's junior, junior stock exchange, Plus Markets, is set to close, having failed to attract a takeover and running out of cash.
Plus, which is home to 156 companies including Arsenal football club, the brewers Shepherd Neame and Adnams and Newbury Racecourse, said it would take up to six months to wind down.
It said it was working closely with the Financial Services Authority to help companies find suitable alternative arrangements for trading their shares. The obvious choice is the London Stock Exchange's AIM, but there are a handful of other registered exchanges which offer share trading facilities for UK companies.
Plus put itself up for sale in February, and while it is understood that about half a dozen prospective buyers showed an interest, none was able to come up with a bid acceptable to the Plus board.
Yesterday Plus said its cash balances, which stood at £4.6m in June last year, were unlikely to be sufficient to meet FSA requirements.
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