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Nymex Proposes a $250-Million IPO

From Bloomberg News

Amid surging energy prices, the owner of the world’s largest energy futures marketplace wants to go public.

Nymex Holdings Inc., parent of the New York Mercantile Exchange, said it planned to sell $250 million of stock in an initial public offering. The long-expected announcement was in a filing the company made with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

The company’s seat holders will vote on the proposal at a yet-to-be-scheduled meeting, Chairman Richard Schaeffer said in a letter to them included in the filing.

The company didn’t specify the number of shares it expected to sell or give an estimated price.

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Trading on energy futures exchanges has soared with the surge in oil prices to record levels. Nymex said overnight electronic trading set a record of 119,238 futures contracts Thursday as oil headed for a record $77.03 a barrel Friday.

But Nymex is facing increased competition from ICE Futures, the London-based electronic exchange owned by IntercontinentalExchange Inc., after the latter in February introduced an electronic contract based on the U.S. oil benchmark, West Texas intermediate.

IntercontinentalExchange went public in November at $26 a share. The stock closed at $58.11 on Monday, down $1.50.

A number of financial markets have gone public in recent years, generally to strong receptions from investors. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s parent sold shares at $35 each in 2002. Shares of the commodity-exchange operator have zoomed since. They closed at $461.46 on Monday, down $2.70.

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