Following up on its promise made earlier in the month, IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE) said Monday it has filed a definitive proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to solicit votes opposing the proposed acquisition of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

The competition for CBOT's hand has heated up over the last few weeks as ICE and CME have both submitted numerous merger plan revisions while also taking their bids directly to CBOT's members and shareholders through letters and speeches (see Daily GPI, June 25). The companies are all awaiting the July 9 vote by CBOT's members and shareholders on CME's merger proposal. In mid-June, CBOT's board unanimously reaffirmed its recommendation that CBOT Holdings shareholders vote in favor of the revised merger agreement with CME (see Daily GPI, June 15).

On Monday, ICE also commenced the mailing of its definitive proxy materials to CBOT stockholders. ICE said it seeks support from CBOT stockholders and urges them to reject the proposed CBOT/CME combination as inferior. As fully detailed in the definitive proxy statement, ICE believes CBOT stockholders should reject the proposed CBOT/CME combination because:

Also on Monday, CBOT executives once again urged its members and shareholders to vote for the CME merger proposal. "You are about to make a very important decision about the future of your business and your industry," said CBOT Chairman Charlie Carey and CBOT CEO Bernie Dan in a letter to shareholders and members. "On July 9, you are being asked to cast a vote in favor of the merger of CBOT Holdings with Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings (CME). Together these two entities would create the largest and most competitive global futures exchange in the world.

"Our boards concluded after a thorough review of the proposal from ICE that a combination with CME is a much better strategic fit that will allow us to pursue immediate and long-term growth opportunities. We determined that the ICE proposal was NOT superior to the combination with CME. CME will help us compete and win in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing global marketplace."

CME also recently announced that its top executives will pitch their merger proposal to CBOT's members in a forum scheduled for Wednesday. CME Chairman Terry Duffy, CME CEO Craig Donohue and CBOT's Carey will co-host a CBOT member meeting at 2:15 p.m. on the agricultural floor (soybean pit).

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