It plans to exploit media interest in the battle for control of the LSE to boost its own profile as an alternative market.
Penrose partner Andrew Nicolls leads the account, which also involves positioning virt-x as a pan-European market and an equal competitor with other rivals such as Franco-Belgian-Dutch exchange Euronext and German exchange Deutsche Boerse (DB).
Virtual stock market virt-x was created in 2001 by Tradepoint Financial Networks (later renamed virt-x plc), the TP Consortium of European and US investment banks, and SWX Swiss Exchange (owner of the Swiss Stock Exchange) to target the European blue-chip market.
Unlike some other European stock markets, which have separate systems to settle trades, virt-x uses a single clearing and settlement model that allows straight-through processing from trade to settlement.
The company argues that it offers a cheaper method of transparency reporting.
Earlier this week, DB withdrew from a planned £1.3bn takeover of the LSE, clearing the way for a Euronext bid. The German exchange had failed to convince the LSE's board to recommend its bid.
Anthony Hilton, p13.