In what is the first overseas acquisition of its kind from the mainland, Chinese investment firm Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group is buying the Chicago Stock Exchange.
With terms yet to be disclosed, the deal is all rather hush-hush at the moment. But according to an official statement posted on Friday, the agreement’s been signed and the sale’s set to close in the second half of the year. Spokespeople from the Chicago Stock Exchange have declined to reveal how much the deal is worth, though.
While one of the oldest in the US at 134 years, the Chicago exchange is also a measly one in the grand scheme of things–the third smallest in the country, to be specific. Valued at under $100 million, the exchange handles about 0.5% of America’s stock trading.
But it gets Chongqing Casin a foot in the door of the competitive $22 trillion US equity market, with hope for future growth.
“We have reviewed CHX’s plans to improve market share through new growth initiatives and fully support them,” stated Group founder and chairman Shengju Lu.
CSE Chief Executive Officer John Kerin said much the same: “We’re a good fit. Our strategy is something they like and is consistent with theirs. We provide technology and we’re a standalone, full-service exchange that they can grow in a manner that suits their needs.”
Unlike other attempted acquisitions, experts don’t think this deal will stir political drama, considering the Chicago exchange’s lack of impact.
But security is nonetheless a concern. “Does foreign ownership open up any potential for information leakage to someone who can take advantage of it? As an investor, I would raise an eyebrow,” said Joe Saluzzi, author of Broken Markets. “As long as the information is secure, I don’t have any problem with it.”
Founded in 1997, the Chinese group started with developing real estate in Chongqing, later expanding to environmental and financial industries.
This deal is just the latest in a frenzied shopping spree on the part of China for foreign companies, with 66 purchases and $70 billion worth of overseas acquisitions already having been announced so far this year. At this insane rate, the mainland might soon wind up beating last year’s record of $123 billion.