...while Icap eyes London metal bourse

ICAP has emerged as a contender in the race to buy the London Metals Exchange (LME), after its chief executive Michael Spencer said he was “very, very interested” to learn it was up for sale.

Spencer said the LME was a “very good business” and pledged to “do a bit of research and give it some consideration”.

Spencer was responding to news the LME was fielding potential bidders, and said Icap would contact the exchange as it considered whether to make an offer.

“We will certainly be finding out some more and deciding what we may or may not do,” he said.

Icap’s involvement adds to an already crowded field of potential suitors, with at least 10 firms registering an interest in the exchange.

LME chief executive Martin Abbott said the interest is due to “booming” business at the LME, with volumes reaching record levels. The LME will open the books for would-be buyers by early December.

Abbott said: “April at the earliest would be the time that we would take something to shareholders. If we decide there is anything to take to them.”

According to analysts, the LME, the world’s biggest market for industrial metals, could be worth as much as £1bn.