A Delaware court will wait for a U.S. regulatory review to be completed before it decides what economic rights Chicago Board of Trade exercise right holders have in the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the parties involved in the case said on Saturday.
The Delaware Chancery Court also denied CME Group Inc.'s request for a temporary restraining order it sought to prevent the Chicago Board Options Exchange, or CBOE, from implementing its rule interpretation on the status of Chicago Board of Trade members, CME and the CBOE said.
CME Group Inc., the world's largest futures exchange, was created with the merger of CBOT Holdings Inc. and Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc. in July. The CBOE is the largest U.S. options market.
The exercise rights allow full members of the Chicago Board of Trade to trade options on CBOE without owning CBOE membership.
The court will wait to take up these issues until after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission finishes its review of CBOE's proposed rules on membership and trading rights.
The CBOE, which has shifted into a for-profit model from a member-owned entity, has tried to terminate the historic trading privileges held by Board of Trade members.
The rights date back to when the options market was formed 34 years ago by the Chicago Board of Trade, which gives full CBOT members access to the neighboring CBOE without having to buy a membership.
The CBOE argues that since the CME Group was created, there are no longer Chicago Board of Trade members who qualify for CBOE trading rights.
Those rights stay intact on a temporary basis for active CBOT members until the SEC makes a final ruling on CBOE's earlier filing. In that filing, CBOE set forth its interpretation that if CME absorbed CBOT to create CME Group, there will no longer be CBOT members who may qualify to become and remain exerciser members of CBOE.
The options market clarified in a notice in July that the CBOT exercise right holders who failed to activate their trading rights status by July 1 would not be able to gain access to the options exchange.
Under the interim plan, a monthly access fee would be paid to CBOE by each person using the exercise rights provision. About 250 CBOT active members use their exercise rights to trade at CBOE.
The CBOE said it is extremely gratified with the court's decisions.
Meanwhile, CME Executive Chairman Terry Duffy said in a statement that the ruling is an important milestone in protecting the ownership rights of CBOT members who hold CBOE exercise rights. We have maintained that the issue of CBOE ownership belongs in the Delaware Courts.
Duffy said the case could take months to resolve since the court decided to delay the case until after the SEC's review of membership rights.
The lawsuit was initiated by CBOT, which is now part of CME Group. CME Group said it plans to amend its case to include claims to receive monetary damages for the ongoing injury caused by CBOE's actions.
The CBOE was not available to comment on Saturday.
(With reporting by Doris Frankel)