The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) may file an application with the U.S. securities regulator for an initial public offering, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

CBOE, the largest U.S. options exchange by trading volume, may file form S-4 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday as a first step toward the IPO, the paper said.

There isn't another exchange out there like CBOE that would be ready to come to market, CBOE Chief Executive Bill Brodsky told the paper.

CBOE'S long-running quest to demutualise was delayed by a legal battle with some Chicago Board of Trade members over ownership rights, which was eventually settled last year.

The settlement paved the way for the IPO plans, the paper said.

CBOE's peers The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), the International Stock Exchange (ISE), and the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) all elected earlier this decade to go public before agreeing to takeovers by larger exchanges.

CBOE offers equity, index and Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) options, including proprietary products, such as S&P 500 options, the most active U.S. index option, and options on the CBOE Volatility Index .VIX, the world's barometer for market volatility.

CBOE was not available to comment.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Rupert Winchester)