Nymex Holdings said on Tuesday it has held preliminary discussions about a potential merger, but there is no guarantee of a deal.
The parent of the New York Mercantile Exchange issued a statement to disclose and clarify certain statements made by its Chairman and CEO during a meeting with Deutsche Bank analysts and institutional investors.
Deutsche Bank analyst Rob Rutschow said in a research note on Tuesday that "management was quite frank about the possibility of a sale of Nymex," following a meeting with Nymex Chairman Richard Schaeffer and CEO James Newsome.
Nymex told Deutsche Bank analysts that any transaction would have to be at a premium to the company's current share price.
Although Nymex executives told Deutsche Bank analysts a potential merger could result in cost savings of up to $250 million, the exchange later said in its statement it could not be sure of the extent of savings, given the preliminary nature of talks with other parties.
The company did not say who it was talking with, but analysts have speculated in recent weeks that Nymex could be bought by NYSE Euronext , which operates the New York Stock Exchange.
NYSE Euronext Chief Executive John Thain has said his exchange is looking at acquisitions to increase its U.S. futures business.
Nymex is the world's largest energy futures market and also trades commodity futures.
Nymex executives said in a July conference call to discuss quarterly earnings that they were looking at all opportunities to consolidate their business.
They also said at the time Nymex may develop a cost savings program.
Nymex said on Tuesday there is no guarantee it will undertake a cost savings program, and whether such a program would involve a sale of the company's downtown Manhattan headquarters.
Nymex said in the statement a potential sale of its headquarters could bring about $500 million.