CME Group does not want to go private "at this time," CEO says

CHICAGO Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:04am IST

Phupinder Gill, the chief executive of CME Group Inc., speaks during the Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P. global exchange and brokerage conference in New York June 8, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Phupinder Gill, the chief executive of CME Group Inc., speaks during the Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P. global exchange and brokerage conference in New York June 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - CME Group's (CME.O) chief executive on Tuesday shot down the possibility that the giant futures exchange operator will go private any time soon, a day after it was revealed that Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ.O) had discussed such a move.

Phupinder Gill, who took the reins at CME in May, told investors at a Credit Suisse conference in Miami that he did not see "the advantage of going private at this time."

CME, which owns the 165-year-old Chicago Board of Trade and offers trading on assets from oil to interest rates, would not be more flexible if it was privately held, Gill said, noting the exchange operator would still be regulated by agencies like the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

CME shares began trading publicly in 2002.

Private equity firm Carlyle Group (CG.O) recently approached Nasdaq about taking Nasdaq private, but the talks fell apart over a disagreement on price, sources familiar with the deal said on Monday.

Exchanges have been under pressure from declining trading volumes and low market volatility.

CME last week reported that fourth-quarter profits fell sharply from a year ago as trading sagged, a decline Wall Street had anticipated given muted volatility and the U.S. Federal Reserve's renewed commitment to low U.S. interest rates.

Gill said on Tuesday that there is an "intense debate" within CME over whether to charge customers more for clearing services, a move that could help compensate for sagging volumes.

Fees are appropriate at this point, he said, adding that CME will adjustment them as necessary.

(Reporting By Tom Polansek; editing by Jim Marshall)

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