‘The New York Mercantile Exchange reported Thursday that it received an unsolicited offer from Boston-based Parthenon Capital LLC 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.

Parthenon, a private equity investment firm with about $1.1 billion under management, said the offer includes cash and other undisclosed considerations. The offer represents a 30% premium to the most recent purchase of a Nymex seat. In February, the exchange sold a seat for $1.55 million. The record price for a seat on the exchange was $1.625 million in September 2003.

Parthenon’s proposal states that the transaction would include, among other things, support for and preservation of open outcry trading. NYMEX said it is in the process of evaluating the proposal.

Nymex spokeswoman Nachamah Jacobovits said it is the first time the exchange has received an offer to buy a majority stake. Ownership shares are attached to division seats and come with trading rights on the exchange.

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