Liffe in play as rival suitors circle

Liffe in play as rival suitors circle

The London Stock Exchange has made a bid approach for futures and options exchange Liffe. Confirmation of the bid came after Liffe issued a statement saying it has appointed Credit Suisse First Boston to evaluate "approaches from a number of parties".

Liffe has long been on the radar screen of the London Stock Exchange, which yesterday issued an upbeat trading statement ahead of the publication of its interim results in November. Other potential bidders include Euronext - the pan-European exchange alliance between Amstredam, France and Belgium - and New York's Nasdaq which has launched a stock options joint venture company in partnership with Liffe.

Icap, the interdealer broker which owns a five per cent stake in Liffe, has ruled itself out of the bidding.

Sir Brian Williamson, Chairman of Liffe, refused to elaborate on the identities of other potential suitors, but says the Exchange is "not surprised" at the approaches.

"The development of Liffe into the world's most technologically advanced exchange has been achieved through exceptional efforts from our management, staff and customers," he says. "Our technology is increasingly in demand by other organisations around the world. At the interim results in August, we reported that trading volumes were up by 46% in the first half; since then volumes have continued to increase."

He say each approach will be reviewed in detail to see which offers maximum value for shareholders.

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