The Chicago Mercantile Exchange sweetened its offer for the Chicago Board of Trade to counter a rival bid by the energy-market IntercontinentalExchange. The CME is now offering 0.35 shares of its own stock for each CBOT share, up 16% from 0.3006 shares when the merger agreement was announced in October 2006. At current stock price, this values the CME offer at $9.8 billion. The offer includes a cash tender for a percentage of the shares of the new company and more seats for CBOT members on its board.
The CBOT board is recommending that its shareholders support the merger, according to a CBOT statement. In its own statement, ICE said it is evaluating its options.
Analyst Edward Ditmire at Fox-Pitt, Kelton noted that both the CME and CBOT expect the Department of Justice to conclude its review of the merger prior to the shareholder votes in early July. The ball is in ICEs court to keep focus on price.