CBOE shares up; analyst calls Nasdaq likely suitor

By Reuters
Posted Feb. 25 at 5:00 p.m.

CBOE Holdings Inc. shares jumped Friday after a Credit Suisse analyst called the U.S. options market operator a takeout candidate and fingered Nasdaq OMX Group as its most likely suitor.

“We believe a NDAQ-CBOE combination would have strong strategic merits for both companies,” Howard Chen wrote in a note to clients devoted to an analysis of such a takeover, although no such deal has been announced. Chen raised his rating on the operator of the Chicago Board Options Exchange to “outperform.”

A wave of financial exchange consolidation, including a planned takeover of NYSE Euronext (NYX.N) by Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1Gn.DE), has spurred speculation over what other combinations could be in the offing. As the last independent North American exchange with a lineup of highly popular, profitable, and exclusively listed contracts, CBOE is “the most likely near-to-intermediate term takeout candidate,” Chen wrote.

Nasdaq could also try to buy the Toronto Stock Exchange, breaking up the Canadian bourse’s planned merger with the London Stock Exchange, Chen said. CME Group could also buy Brazil’s BM&F Bovespa, with which it has a cross-shareholding arrangement, “further down the road,” he wrote.

CBOE shares closed up 6.9 percent at $29.43.

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CBOE Holdings

CBOE Holdings Inc. claims it is the largest option exchange in the United States. The company, in addition to its core options trading business, provides marketplaces for trading futures contracts...

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