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CME Positioned to Compete as Standalone Firm, Duffy Tells CNBC

CME Group Inc. (CME) is able to compete as a standalone company, Chairman and President Terrence Duffy told CNBC, declining to comment on merger plans for the world’s largest futures exchange.

“We have the right pieces of the puzzle in place to compete with anybody,” he said in an interview with CNBC today. “We don’t comment about any speculation.”

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange owner approached Deutsche Boerse AG in Frankfurt at the end of last year to consider starting talks on a merger, according to four people familiar with the situation. The Frankfurt-based owner of the Eurex derivatives exchange is hesitant about entering discussions, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Deutsche Boerse said in a statement yesterday that it’s not in merger talks.

CME’s overture is the fourth time it has considered an acquisition since Phupinder Gill replaced Craig Donohue as chief executive officer in March 2012. The company has expanded in the past decade through deals, buying the Chicago Board of Trade and New York Mercantile Exchange. It unsuccessfully tried to purchase the London Metal Exchange last year and also approached NYSE Euronext about a deal with its derivatives business, two people familiar with the situation said last month.

“Whether we continue to do transactions one way or another to build on the CME Group is something yet to be decided,” he added. “We would not be doing the business we are doing today if we didn’t get the pieces of the puzzle over the last several years.”

CME rose 2.1 percent to $58.98 today, bringing the 2013 advance to 16 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney Kisling in New York at wkisling@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net

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