CME Group, Inc. and Nymex Holdings, Inc. today confirmed that they are engaged in preliminary discussions regarding CME Group’s potential acquisition of Nymex.

The announcement, which came in response to market rumours, reveals that the parties have agreed to a 30 day exclusive negotiating period. Under the terms being discussed, shareholders of Nymex would receive US$36 in cash and 0.1323 of a share of CME Group’s common stock for each Nymex share.

CME Group said it expects to maintain trading floors in the New York City area. The potential transaction also contemplates that Nymex will repurchase the 816 New York Mercantile Exchange memberships upon closing of the potential acquisition for an aggregate purchase price not to exceed US$500 million.

Discussions are in early stages, they noted, and the terms of any potential transaction may be materially different from what is being discussed. “The transaction remains subject to negotiation of other terms, completion of due diligence, negotiation of terms of a definitive agreement and approvals of the boards of directors of both companies. There can be no assurances that any agreement will be reached or that a transaction will be completed on the terms set forth above or others. We will have no further comment until an agreement is reached or the discussions are terminated,” they added.