City tycoon Michael Spencer is weighing up a £3.8bn bid for his electronic trading company that would land him a £669m windfall.
The 62-year-old, a former Tory Party treasurer, has received an offer from the Chicago-based CME Group for Nex, the firm he set up more than 30 years ago.
In a statement to the stock market last night, the company said: ‘The board of Nex confirms it has received a non-binding proposal from CME regarding a potential acquisition.
‘Discussions are at an advanced stage. There can be no certainty that an offer for Nex will be made, nor as to the terms of any offer.’
The offer values Nex at 1000p a share – and Spencer’s 17.6 per cent stake at £669m. Before the announcement was made yesterday, Nex shares closed up 9.8 per cent, or 86.5p, at a record high of 972p. The surge added £58m to the value of Spencer’s stake, making him a billionaire.
Known for his legendary parties and wine cellar, as well as his contacts across business, politics and beyond, on one occasion Spencer turned exclusive Mayfair hotel Claridge’s into a Chicago speakeasy. And for his 60th birthday he flew 150 friends to £1,000-a-night hotels in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.
He also runs a charity appeal which sees celebrities become traders for a day – it has raised £140m for good causes since 1993.
Nex dates back to 1986 when Spencer founded his broking firm that became known as Icap.
Its electronic trading business became a separate firm called Nex, where Spencer is still the boss. Spencer was Conservative treasurer from 2006 until 2010, when he resigned after criticism for selling £45m of shares weeks before his business issued a profit warning.
He was reportedly in line for a peerage last year but this was blocked after Icap’s £55m fine for its involvement in the Libor interest rate scandal. Spencer was not implicated.
CME boss Terry Duffy has led several takeovers, acquiring firms such as the Chicago Board of Trade and New York Mercantile Exchange.