Sunday, August 3, 2008

CME Buying Nymex: Advisory firms & politicians approve

Two leading proxy advisory firms have recommended the CME Group shareholders for in favor of the acquisition of the New York Mercantile Exchange at the shareholders' meeting August 18.

"Consolidation among exchange operators continues to be a viable growth strategy. The transaction will result in a more competitive exchange, offers NYMEX Holdings shareholders a financially fair consideration and is expected to be accretive to earnings for the surviving shareholders of CME Group," is how Glass Lewis put the key point.

This has never really become the political football it might have. There is a lot of talk in the halls of Congress these days about speculators and institutional investing and how forces at work through the commodities exchanges may be driving the price of crude oil and/or the price of gasoline higher than the underlying supply and demand considerations would warrant.

If there's any truth to that theory at all, the Nymex is key. And exchange consolidation could easily be portrayed, by a politician looking for a point to make, as a way of easing the least productive or rational or consumer-friendly forms of speculation out there. [I'm not making such a point, mind you, only commenting on what some hypothetical demagogue might be able to put together in this line].

But our politicians seem to be smiling rather benignly upon the CME/Nymex nuptials.

Get these mergers and acquisitions done while the gettin' is good. The climate may turn.

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