CME Meets With Indianapolis Mayor on Possible Move From Chicago

Officials at CME Group Inc., owner of the world’s largest futures exchange, met with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to discuss the possibility of a move from Chicago because of high taxes in Illinois.

The meeting in Chicago today addressed “the opportunity that Indianapolis and the state of Indiana offer the CME Group, should they choose to relocate,” Marc Lotter, the mayor’s communications director, said in a telephone interview. He declined to provide details of the discussion. Michael Huber, a deputy mayor of economic development in Indianapolis, also attended the meeting, which lasted about an hour, Lotter said.

“The city, the state and CME have been in discussions for months now,” Lotter said. “This was an opportunity to continue these talks. We appreciate the opportunity to have the mayor visit them in Chicago today.”

The fight over tax relief for Chicago-based CME stems from a January vote in which Democrats pushed through record increases in tax rates to close part of a $13 billion budget deficit. Illinois legislators adjourned on Nov. 29 without reaching an agreement to ease tax levies on the CME, Sears Holdings Corp. and CBOE Holdings Inc.

CME Group, which owns futures markets including the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, is the world’s largest exchange operator by market capitalization, valued at $19 billion. CBOE Holding’s two exchanges have the largest total share of the U.S. options market.

Chris Grams, a spokesman for the CME, confirmed in a telephone interview that a meeting between company and Indianapolis officials took place. He declined to disclose details.

“The city and the state offer an outstanding business climate for any company, and we always take advantage of any opportunity to speak to a company that might be interested in setting up shop here in Indiana,” Lotter said.

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