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Nasdaq Hopes Portal Will Expand Global Reach

The Nasdaq Stock Market (NDAQ) is hoping that its alliance with several big Wall Street firms to expand its trading platform for unregistered securities will entice international companies to list on the exchange.

Nasdaq announced Monday that it is expanding its Portal platform, originally launched in August, to include technology from 12 banks and brokerages, including Goldman Sachs (GS), to create "an industry standard facility" that will serve the market for 144a equity securities.

The exchange has touted its platform as a way to enhance transparency and liquidity in the private market -- something that was virtually nonexistent when such transactions were completed by phone. Private placements have become much more common as firms such as hedge funds and other generally tight-lipped companies are looking for access to capital but do not want to undergo the rigorous compliance necessary for public companies under Securities and Exchange Commission rules.

Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld, in an interview with TheStreet.com, says the exchange's expansion in the unregistered securities market is a "strong component" of its overall strategic vision to gain more listings -- particularly from foreign companies.

"Many international companies want to list in the U.S. to raise capital in the U.S., but they find the regulatory burden is somewhat tough for them to handle," Greifeld says. " Portal would give us relationships with a number of different corporate organizations, which will put us in a position to market our product and services. We believe it's a perfect feeder system for our main market listings."

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