Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc. and CBOT Holdings Inc. announced that they are postponing their merger votes in light of the competing bid from the IntercontinentalExchange Inc.

The special meetings of shareholders to vote on the definitive merger agreement between the CME and the CBOT were originally scheduled for April 4. They have elected to reschedule the meetings in light of CBOT’s review of the unsolicited merger proposal submitted by IntercontinentalExchange. The CME and CBOT are determining a new date for their meetings.

The merger agreement between the CBOT and CME remains in effect. The board of directors of CBOT Holdings, its special transaction committee and the board of directors of CBOT have not withdrawn, modified or qualified their respective recommendations that the stockholders of CBOT Holdings vote in favour of the merger agreement with the CME and that the members of the CBOT vote in favour of certain related matters.

CBOT Holdings does not intend to comment further on ICE’s proposal until it has completed its reviews of the proposal.

“We are confident that our definitive merger agreement with CBOT is based on a vastly superior strategic rationale and will offer significantly more lasting and sustainable value to the shareholders, customers and members of both exchanges,” said CME executive chairman Terry Duffy. “We have already demonstrated the ability to capture efficiencies with CBOT through our historic 2003 common clearing agreement and, more recently, our accelerated plans to integrate our trading floors and electronic trading platforms. We look forward to putting the vote before our shareholders and completing our merger by mid-2007.”

“We believe that a thorough review and comparison of our deal and ICE’s proposal will demonstrate that a CBOT/CME merger is financially, strategically and operationally superior,” said CME chief executive officer Craig Donohue. “Furthermore, we are confident that our integration with CBOT will not carry the execution risks associated with ICE’s proposal. In addition to our consistent performance and financial strength, CME offers industry leading clearing, a vibrant trading floor, state-of-the-art technology, global distribution of benchmark products across all asset classes, and a history of product innovation, not to mention a four-plus year track record of creating shareholder value.”