GFI founder’s ex wife shuns $10m to back CME bid

Michael Bow
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Michael Gooch founded GFI Group
THE EX-WIFE of GFI Group founder Michael Gooch has waded into a bitter takeover battle for the interdealer by indicating she will accept $9.6m less for her stake in the firm to see off a rival suitor hoping to buy the business.

Rivals CME Group and BGC Group, owned by Cantor Fitzgerald, are both racing to buy the company. BGC’s offer of $6.10 a share is currently higher than CME’s $5.85 bid.

Diane Gooch, who owns 15m shares in GFI through her ex-husband’s investment fund Jersey Partners, has indicated she will accept an offer of $5.46 per share from CME, Michael Gooch said in an open letter to GFI shareholders yesterday.

“That is her vote of confidence in the CME merger and shows how much she wants to see the CME merger close,” the letter said.

Michael Gooch – the Brit who founded GFI in 1987 and is executive chairman – said he would accept just $4.44 per share for his stake from CME.

“You can opt for a ‘bird in the hand’ with CME, or hold out for ‘BGC in the bush’,” Gooch said in the letter.

He added: “By taking this reduced sale price — and passing up a substantial portion of the premium that you and the other GFI stockholders will receive in the CME Merger — we have improved the value for all of GFI’s stockholders.”

Gooch said he is against the higher offer from BGC because it is “highly conditional” on a number of factors.

Gooch’s letter is just the latest twist in the increasingly fraught tug of war for the broker, which has been rumbling on for the past four months.

Gooch’s Jersey Partners fund owns 36 per cent of GFI.