Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System, Baton Rouge, has filed a lawsuitagainst the Chicago Board of Trade and its board of directors, seeking to delay the April 4 shareholder vote to consider the $8.9 billion merger offer by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Last week after the vote was scheduled the Intercontinental Exchange made an unsolicited $9.9 billion bid for CBOT, and the complaint alleges that by proceeding with the vote, CBOT directors put their own personal interests ahead of shareholders and failed to maximize shareholder value. The complaint, filed in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington March 16, also alleges the CME merger agreement contains numerous coercive and preclusive protections that heavily tilt the playing field in the favor of CME.
The $1.5 billion system, which is seeking class-action status, filed a subsequent motion Monday for a hearing requesting a preliminary injunction no later than April 3, according to an official at the court who declined to be identified.
Mark Lebovitch, an attorney with Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman, which represents the Louisiana fund, said the goal is not to block the CME deal. LAMPERS' lawsuit seeks to have the upcoming shareholder vote adjourned so the CBOT board can fairly consider the ICE offer and any other offer that may emerge, he said.
Harlan Loeb, spokesman for CBOT, said that the lawsuit is premature and baseless, given the boards decision Monday to authorize the company to hold talks with ICE, but he declined to be more specific.
The number of CBOT shares held by the system was not immediately available.