LME Receives a Number of Proposals That May Lead to Takeover

LME Receives a Number of Proposals That May Lead to Takeover
Traders work on the floor of the London Metal Exchange in London. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

The London Metal Exchange, the world’s biggest metals bourse, received multiple proposals that may lead to a takeover.

The proposals will be considered by the board, the LME said in a statement today. They were from companies that had been shortlisted after assistance from Moelis & Co., the LME’s adviser, according to the statement.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. said April 30 that it was one of several companies looking to buy the LME. CME Group Inc., NYSE Euronext and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. made preliminary offers, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said in February. Takeover bids for the LME, which handles more than 80 percent of industrial metals futures, had to be submitted by yesterday.

Claire Miller, a spokeswoman for ICE in London, Allan Schoenberg, a spokesman for CME in London, and James Dunseath, a spokesman for NYSE in London, declined to comment. Chris Evans, a spokesman for the LME, said there’s nothing more to add to the statement.

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 94 members, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JP Morgan 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.

Exchange Rankings

Hong Kong Exchanges is Asia’s largest bourse, CME is the world’s largest futures exchange, NYSE Euronext is the biggest U.S. exchange owner and ICE operates the second-largest U.S. futures market.

Hong Kong Exchanges 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.

Metals prices rallied in the past decade as demand from China, the world’s biggest consumer, overwhelmed supplies from mines, attracting a surge of interest from investors. The LME handled a record $15.4 trillion of contracts in copper and other industrial metals last year, compared with $2.5 trillion in 1999. It operates London’s last open-outcry transactions through a 6-meter-wide (20-foot) ring in which traders shout out orders.

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