Funds News

UPDATE 1-NYBOT members approve merger with ICE

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NEW YORK, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Energy derivatives marketplace IntercontinentalExchange Inc. ICE.N and soft commodity exchange the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT) said on Monday NYBOT members overwhelmingly approved their proposed merger.

Of votes cast, 93 percent voted in favor of the transaction.

ICE agreed to buy NYBOT last September for about $1 billion in cash and stock in a move that allows ICE to expand into agricultural commodities. The transaction is expected to close in early 2007.

ICE shares closed up almost 5 percent at $113.21 on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We are one very important step closer to consummating this historic merger,” said ICE chairman and chief executive officer Jeffrey Sprecher.

“We believe this is the strongest indication the NYBOT membership shares our vision and drive to create the premier global commodity marketplace.”

The deal signals the triumph of electronic trading in the rapidly growing commodities futures markets. IntercontinentalExchange is electronic, while NYBOT had long clung to open-outcry trading, and only recently took steps toward the electronic arena.

NYBOT trades futures and options on coffee, cocoa, sugar, cotton and frozen concentrated orange juice among other commodities.

Monday’s vote went ahead, despite a lawsuit filed last Friday against NYBOT in New York State Supreme Court by so- called “permit holders” of the exchange who were barred from voting on the deal.

Under NYBOT’s rules, only “equity members” are allowed to vote on the deal. These members own seats on the NYBOT and can trade all of its agricultural and financial futures and options contracts.