BGC Extends GFI Offer After Too Few Shareholders Agree to Deal

Howard Lutnick’s BGC Partners Inc., the interdealer broker that made a hostile bid to buy GFI Group Inc. for $675 million, said it’s extending the deadline for its tender offer after too few shareholders agreed to the deal.

As of Nov. 19, about 23.2 million shares were tendered, which along with the 17.1 million shares already owned by BGC represents about 31.7 percent of GFI’s outstanding shares, the New York-based firm said today in a statement. The tender offer is now scheduled to expire at 5 p.m. on Dec. 9, unless extended, the company said.

BGC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lutnick, who also runs Cantor Fitzgerald LP, is seeking to consolidate the shrinking interdealer brokerage business, which handles large transactions between banks. Together BGC and GFI generate more revenue than London-based ICAP Plc, the largest interdealer broker, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

CME Group Inc., owner of the world’s biggest futures market, said in July it would buy GFI for $580 million to expand its reach into European energy trading. BGC announced a competing offer in September. That bid turned hostile following a dispute, in which GFI asked BGC not to recruit key employees for a period of time, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

BGC’s $5.25 cash offer was 15 percent more than CME Group’s all-stock bid of $4.55. GFI shares closed at $5 yesterday in New York trading.