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CME, NYSE Said Among Companies Submitting Bids for LME

CME, NYSE Said Among Companies Submitting Takeover Bids for LME
A sign sits on display outside the London Metal Exchange in London. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

CME Group Inc., NYSE Euronext and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. were among suitors for the London Metal Exchange to submit takeover offers before a deadline yesterday, said five people with direct knowledge of the matter.

LME, the world’s biggest metals bourse, said earlier today it received multiple proposals that may lead to it being acquired. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. said April 30 that it “continues to participate” in the LME’s evaluation of strategic options.

The exchange, founded more than a century ago in London’s financial district, began a process in September that it said may lead to its sale. LME handles about 80 percent of global trading in metals futures and reported record volume of $15.4 trillion last year. More than $30 billion of exchange mergers announced since October 2010 failed amid populist outcry, antitrust concern and volatile markets.

Allan Schoenberg, a spokesman for CME in London, James Dunseath, a spokesman for NYSE in London and Claire Miller, a spokeswoman for ICE in London, all declined to comment. Scott Sapp of Hong Kong Exchanges didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and phone call seeking comment outside normal business hours. Chris Evans, a spokesman for the LME, said he had nothing to add beyond the company’s statement today.

The LME may be valued at about $1.3 billion, Greenwich, Connecticut-based Equity Research Desk, an adviser to hedge funds, said in February. The LME is owned by 70 of its 92 members, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS AG. Any bid will have to be approved by more than 50 percent of shareholders, with the owners of at least 75 percent of shares backing the move.


NYSE Euronext, based in New York, trades commodities including coffee, cocoa, sugar and wheat. It operates the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Arca and NYSE Amex Options, as well as equity markets in Paris, Lisbon, Brussels and Amsterdam, and Liffe in London and Paris.

CME Group, based in Chicago, owns the Comex exchange, which handles gold, silver and copper futures. The LME trades copper, aluminum, nickel, zinc, tin, lead, steel and minor metals such as cobalt. Atlanta-based ICE, the second-largest U.S. futures market, offers trading in crude oil, coffee and sugar.

Hong Kong Exchanges, Asia’s largest bourse operator, said last week it’s studying a bid. Asia’s largest bourse is confident about its chances of acquiring the LME, the South China Morning Post reported today citing an interview with Charles Li, chief executive officer.

Singapore Exchange Ltd. won’t submit a bid for the LME, Chew Choon Seng, the chairman of the bourse operator, said yesterday. The Singapore bourse, whose bid for Sydney-based ASX Ltd. was rejected last year by the Australian government, plans to build its business through partnerships such as a metal-trading venture it has with LME, Chew said.

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