US-based IntercontinentalExchange tables final bid for London Metal Exchange

US futures exchanges operator IntercontinentalExchange Inc (NYSE:ICE) has made a final bid of GBP1.3bn (USD2bn/EUR1.6bn) to buy the London Metal Exchange (LME), according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKG:0388), or HKEx, has offered a little below that amount.

LME’s board is expected to meet on Monday and possibly select a winner, with a recommendation to be made to shareholders this week, the newspaper said.

HKEx, which believes it has the upperhand in front of ICE, focused its offer on facilitating LME’s expansion into China, a move which is of interest to the target’s board, the report said.

Meanwhile, ICE’s proposition is centred around new products and increased efficiency, according to the paper.

Both suitors have pledged to keep the open outcry trading at the LME, but the Sunday Telegraph cited City sources as questioning this commitment by ICE which closed such trading at the International Petroleum Exchange bought in 2001. The transaction is also subject to regulatory approval.

The LME announced last month it had received by the deadline on 7 May a number of binding takeover offers from unnamed parties selected for the final bidding race.

The exchange, which said in September 2011 it had received expression of interest from unnamed parties, reviewed first-round bids in February 2012.

A spokesman for the LME did not wish to comment to the Sunday Telegraph.

The LME, set up in 1877 in London, is the top global non-ferrous metals market, offering futures and option contracts for non-ferrous, minor metals and steel.

For more on this story, click here.