BGC Counters CME Bid with Offer Increase

Interdealer broker also extends offer deadline.

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BGC Partners has again increased its all-cash tender offer for broker GFI Group to $6.10 per share, with a further increase to $6.20 under certain conditions.

The raise from BGC comes hot on the heels of an announcement by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group, which is also pursuing an acquisition of GFI, in which the exchange operator said it would raise its offer price to $5.85 in a stock-and-cash deal.

While the non-contingent raise is to $6.10 per share from $5.75, BGC says that should GFI's management countersign an executed agreement, that price will lift to $6.20 per share. BGC's previous contingent offer price was $5.85.

In addition, BGC has also extended its deadline for shareholders to tender their holdings in GFI to its offer to February 3, from the previous date of January 29.

GFI is holding a vote on January 27, in which shareholders will decide whether to approve or reject the CME/GFI deal, which was originally announced at the end of July 2014.

Under the CME arrangement, GFI will be merged with a CME subsidiary, after which the brokerage arm of the firm will be sold to a consortium led by GFI's current management. CME will then keep GFI's two technology businesses, Trayport and Fenics.

"We continue to remind GFI shareholders to vote against the proposed $5.85 CME/GFI management stock and cash transaction at the January 27, 2015 special meeting of shareholders and also urge them to tender their shares into our obviously superior all-cash offer," says Howard Lutnick, CEO and chairman of BGC. "We are prepared to move quickly to complete our fully financed tender offer and deliver the higher value to which GFI shareholders are entitled."

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