Two private equity firms have teamed up to offer to buy an equity stake in the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the exchange reported late last week. It is the second attempt by an investment group to buy a stake in Nymex in the last 12 months.
According to the Associated Press, which cited "people close to the Nymex," New York private-equity firm Blackstone Group and Boston venture capital firm Battery Ventures VI LLP have proposed to buy a 20% stake in Nymex for $185 million.
"Nymex Holdings Inc. has received a preliminary indication of interest from two private equity firms, acting as a group, to acquire a minority stake in the company," Nymex said last Thursday afternoon. "This preliminary indication is subject to due diligence and other conditions and is being reviewed by the Exchange and its advisers."
Asked whether the interested parties or the proposed offer amount could be confirmed, Nymex spokesperson Anu Ahluwalia, said "As an SEC reporting company, the Exchange cannot at this time comment beyond what has been stated."
This offer is a little different from the attempted stake purchase launched by Parthenon Capital LLC in April 2004 (see NGI, April 12, 2004). In that deal, Parthenon offered to buy a majority stake, which Nymex Holdings' board of directors turned down last August (see NGI, August 9, 2004). Parthenon had offered to buy a 60% controlling interest in the exchange for up to $2 million per seat, or about $980 million for 490 seats on the exchange.
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