Icap financial technology spin off NEX Group has confirmed a preliminary takeover approach by Chicago futures exchange CME.
NEX Group, billed by chief executive Michael Spencer as "a financial technology company, focused on electronic markets and post trade services," at the time of its seperation from Icap's voice broking assets, holds a prime position in a market ripe for consolidation.
NEX confirmed the talks with CME in a Stock Exchange notice in order to quell press speculation following an anonymous tip to Bloomberg.
"The Board of NEX Group plc ("NEX") notes the press speculation and announces that it has received a preliminary approach by CME Group Inc. ("CME") regarding a potential acquisition of NEX," the firm stated. "Discussions are at an early stage and there can be no certainty that an offer for NEX will be made, nor as to the terms of any offer, if made."
In a follow-up statement, the CME says it was conducted due diligence before deciding whether to press ahead with a firm offer.
Shares in NEX Group, which commands a £3.4 billion price tag, rose by 32% on the announcement.
Analysts are expecting a bidding war with other exchanges joining the fray should the talks progress.