Chinese investor group to buy Chicago Stock Exchange

The Chicago Stock Exchange, the oldest in the US, is being acquired by an investor group led by a Chinese company.

The Chicago Stock Exchange / LaSalle Train Station as viewed from the Sears Tower in July 2008  

Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group, a privately-held holding company based in Chongqing, China, is leading the investor group in buying the 134-year-old Chicago Stock Exchange.

A concluded deal would be the first acquisition of a US stock exchange by a Chinese company.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Chicago Stock Exchange CEO John Kerin will continue as CEO after the deal closes.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year and needs to be approved by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Chicago Stock Exchange, a subsidiary of CHX Holdings Inc, is minority-owned by a group including, E*Trade Financial, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

These minority shareholders have also agreed to sell their stake.

The investor group intends on preserving CHX's current business operations and proprietary trading platform.

Commenting on the proposed deal, John Kerin, said, ''After an in-depth review of strategic alternatives for the exchange, we believe that this acquisition is the best outcome for our clients, shareholders and the trading community as a whole. With our new investment partners, we will have significant additional resources to pursue our new business initiatives, including the launch of our on-demand auction product, CHX|snap, in the spring of 2016.''

 Casin Group founder and chairman, Shengju Lu, said, ''We are honored to partner with CHX.''

''We have reviewed CHX's plans to improve market share through new growth initiatives and fully support them. Together, we have a unique opportunity to help develop financial markets in China over the longer term and to bring exciting Chinese growth companies to US investors.''

The Chicago Stock Exchange is a small player handling only 0.5 per cent of US trading and definitely not as big or iconic as the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq.

But the deal would probably be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, which had blocked Germany's Deutsche Boerse AG plan to buy the owner of the New York Stock Exchange in 2011.

Casin Group's offer comes amid a recent overseas shopping spree by Chinese companies.

This week, State-owned China National Chemical Corporation offered to buy Swiss seeds and pesticides giant Syngenta AG for $43-billion. (See: ChemChina to acquire Syngenta in $43-bn friendly deal)

Casin Group is a privately held diversified holding group founded in 1997 focused on real estate development, environmental protection industry investment and operation, financial holdings and municipal infrastructure investment and construction.

Casin Group has 821 employees with operations across China and abroad, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Sydney and other location.