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, the world's largest electronic agency securities broker, has seen its fair share of excitement the past six months.

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On May 17, Instinet priced 30 million shares at $14.50, and shares climbed more than 21% in its first day of trading. Since then, the stock has stayed in a range between $8 and $21. With the current share price at slightly more than $9 and a rapidly approaching lockup expiration, you might expect to see tension in the jaws of the smaller restricted shareholders. Unless, that is, if the largest restricted position weren't held by financial news giant,




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As part of the Instinet spinout deal, former parent Reuters retained a whopping 206.9 million shares of Instinet. That makes the theoretical market valuation of its position close to $2 billion. A chunk of change like this could certainly come in handy for oh, say, an acquisition or two. Of course, that number


only theoretical because any attempt to make liquid such a large percentage of the outstanding stock would have a devastating effect on the share price.

So what will Reuters do? That's the question now making the rounds in many lockup-playing circles. Smart traders will be scanning the wires looking for filings made to allow 144-share sales.

If Instinet share volume goes through the roof after the lockup expiration, then you know where those shares are coming from. Typically, this type of lockup expiration is a nonevent, though, and former parent companies usually hold onto their shares and sell gradually if they need to.

Here's the list for this week:

Michael Falbo is an analyst for, a Boulder, Colo.-based research boutique (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of specializing in the analysis of equity syndicate offerings. This column is not meant as investment advice; it is instead meant to provide insight into the methods of new and secondary offerings. Neither Falbo nor his firm has entered indications of interest in any of the companies discussed in this column. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Falbo appreciates your feedback at