The Chicago Board of Trade is looking at a possible merger or takeover bid after receiving "unsolicited, non-binding expressions of interest" from an un-named third party.
CBOT Holdings, the holding company set up in the spring as a forerunner to a forthcoming IPO of the Chicago futures mart, says it is currently reviewing the offer. Last week CBOT members voted overwhelmingly in favour of an initial public offering of shares in the company at a likely strike price of between $33 and $36 per share.
While the IPO opportunity has been explored, gossip in Chicago coffee parlours has centred around a potential merger with the neighbouring Chicago Mercantile Exchange. An unsolicited bid for the CBOT would likely precipitate a competitive auction, drawing in other exchanges from both cash and futures markets.
In a brief statement, CBOT Holdings says it will consider the expressions of interest as part of a broader review of strategic alternatives, "including a possible business combination through an acquisition, sale or other transaction, as well as the company’s pending initial public offering of its common stock".