CBOT Holdings Inc.’s board of directors has, after consultation with its legal and financial advisors, authorized the company, to begin discussions and exchange information with IntercontinentalExchange Inc. concerning ICE’s competing bid for the firm.

The CBOT already has a merger deal with Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc., and that merger agreement with the CME remains in effect. The CBOT Holdings’s board, its Special Transaction Committee and the board of the Chicago Board of Trade have not withdrawn, modified or qualified their respective recommendations that the stockholders of CBOT Holdings vote in favor of the merger agreement with the CME.

The special meetings of CBOT Holdings stockholders and CBOT members to vote on the proposed transaction with CME remain scheduled to be convened on April 4.

CBOT Holdings does not intend to comment further on ICE’s proposal until CBOT Holdings’ board, its Special Transaction Committee and CBOT’s board have completed their reviews of the proposal.