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The CME Is Suspected of Bidding for the London Metals Exchange; NYSE Said to Be Interested too

CME Group Inc. (CME) has made a bid for the London Metal Exchange as the world’s largest metals futures market plans a meeting next week to consider offers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The price CME Group offered wasn’t disclosed, said the person, who declined to be identified because negotiations are private. A purchase of the LME by Chicago-based CME Group would add to its metals that trade through the Comex, where futures based on gold, silver and copper are traded.

LME’s board will review the bids in a Feb. 23 meeting. LME Chief Executive Officer Martin Abbott had set Feb. 15 as a deadline for takeover bids that will be reviewed by a special committee. NYSE Euronext (NYX) submitted an expression of interest in the LME, another person familiar with the matter said.

The main obstacle to any deal may be regulatory approval after the European Union earlier this month rejected the proposed merger ofDeutsche Boerse AG (DB1) and NYSE Euronext. In the past 15 months, $37 billion in proposed exchange industry takeovers failed.

The LME is considering ending its independence after record trading volumes attracted multiple bidders for the exchange that handles about 80 percent of global trade in metals futures. It may be valued at $1.3 billion, according to Diego Perfumo, an exchanges analyst at Equity Research Desk, a hedge-fund adviser in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Possible Buyers

Other bidders for the LME may include Deutsche Boerse, IntercontinentalExchange, and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd., according to Perfumo…”

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