The Singapore Exchange (SGX) is in exclusive talks to buy London's Baltic Exchange, which has been at the heart of the global shipping industry for centuries, the two companies said on Wednesday.
Founded in 1744, the Baltic Exchange is no longer a forum for chartering vessels but owns benchmark indexes for global shipping rates and provides a trading platform for the multi-billion dollar freight derivatives market.
The takeover talks come as the global shipping industry grapples with the worst market conditions for decades after a slump in commodity markets coincided with an increase in the number of vessels, sending freight costs to record lows.
Earlier on Wednesday, sources told Reuters the Baltic and SGX had entered into advanced talks, with one putting the value of a potential deal at about $100 million.
The Baltic and SGX said in a statement later they had entered a period of exclusivity which would expire on June 30.