May 29 (Bloomberg) -- CME Group Inc., the world’s largest futures exchange, hired real estate brokers to sell its 16-story New York Mercantile Exchange tower, with plans to potentially lease back a portion of the building and its trading floor.
CME Group may also consider relocating the exchange to another property in lower Manhattan, according to a statement today from the Chicago-based company. It will continue operating the Nymex trading floor in New York regardless of a sale.
CME Group is selling real estate as electronic trading grows more popular and it seeks to focus on its derivatives business. The company sold two of the three buildings that comprise the Chicago Board of Trade complex last year for $151.5 million and leased back the space that it occupies in the properties. About 88 percent of the contracts traded on CME Group’s exchanges did so electronically in March, matching the record it set last year for computer-based buying and selling.
“We currently don’t use all the office space in the building,” Damon Leavell, a CME Group spokesman, said in a telephone interview. “We are still committed to maintaining the floor and open-outcry trading.”
CME Group rose 3.3 percent to $67.62 in New York today, the second-biggest gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. The stock has risen 28 percent in the past year.
The company hired Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to market the Nymex property. Holly Duran Real Estate Partners LLC is advising the company.
CME Group acquired the New York tower, along with the exchange, in 2008. It owns the building on a ground lease from New York’s Battery Park City Authority that expires in June 2069.