BGC raises all-cash bid for GFI to about $714M, urges shareholders to reject competing offer

IndustriesAssociated Press

BGC Partners plans to hike its takeover bid for derivatives and currency brokerage firm GFI Group Inc., even as GFI draws closer to closing on a separate offer from CME Group.

BGC, a financial and real estate brokerage firm which launched a hostile bid for GFI in October, said Wednesday that it will raise its all-cash tender offer for GFI stock to $5.60 per share. GFI has about 127.5 million shares outstanding, so the new bid amounts to about $714 million.

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CME Group Inc., which is the parent company of the Chicago Board of Trade and other exchanges, raised its bid last month to $5.25 per share, or around $669.4 million. GFI's board approved that deal, and shareholders are set to vote on it Jan. 27. But BGC had sent a letter dated Friday to GFI shareholders urging them to reject that offer in favor of its previous bid of $5.45 per share, which it said offered "superior value and immediate liquidity" at closing.

BGC noted Wednesday that its new offer represented a premium of about 7 percent to the CME bid and an 80 percent jump from the price of GFI shares last summer before CME's original offer was announced.

A GFI Group Inc. representative declined to comment on the latest BGC bid.

BGC Partners Inc. made a $675 million bid for GFI in September and then took the $5.25 per share offer directly to shareholders after the firm refused to discuss a deal.

GFI had agreed in July to be acquired by CME Group in a $4.55 per-share deal.

Shares of GFI Group closed at $5.50 on Tuesday. The stock has climbed about 80 percent since the end of July.