CME Group exec chairman leaves door open for possible big deals

Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:20pm EST

Feb 26 (Reuters) - CME Group Inc Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy said on Tuesday the trading volume growth of the Chicago-based exchange operator is due to its past acquisitions, and suggested the company may yet have appetite for more big deals.

"Whether we do transactions one way or another to build on to the CME Group is yet to be decided," Duffy said on CNBC. "We would not be doing the business we are doing today if we didn't put the pieces of the puzzle (together) over the last few years."

Duffy's comments were the first from a CME executive since Bloomberg News reported on Monday that CME has approached rival Deutsche Boerse AG about possible merger talks. Deutsche Boerse said the companies were not in talks, but CME executives had remained mum.

CME bought the Chicago Board of Trade in 2007 and the New York Mercantile Exchange in 2008, spending a total of nearly $20 billion and extending its reach into grains, Treasuries, and energy.

But since then CME has made only small acquisitions, including the Kansas City Board of Trade for $126 million last year. CME officials have frequently said they do not foresee any new large acquisitions.

CME CEO Phupinder Gill, who took the reins as CME chief executive last year, reiterated that stance a few weeks ago.

"We will as always remain opportunistic, but for now we do not see any large M&A opportunities," he told analysts on Feb. 5.

Bloomberg News reported CME officials had met with Deutsche Boerse officials about possible merger talks in January and in December.

Duffy on Tuesday declined to comment directly when asked about CME's intentions in the M&A line. But his comments represented a change in tone for the company.

"We have put ourselves in a very good place to compete with anybody going forward," he said.

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