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Note: This news item was dated yesterday before ICE's bid for the CBOT today.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade are moving up their plans to migrate electronic products and consolidate open outcry onto a single trading floor following their $25bn (€18.9bn) merger.

The merger is expected to close by mid-year pending regulatory and shareholder approval. The migration of electronically traded CBOT products onto the CME Globex platform will begin in the first quarter of 2008 instead of one year after the deal closes.

CME and CBOT open outcry markets will move to a single floor at CBOT in the second quarter of 2008 instead of between 12 and 18 months following the close of the merger as originally scheduled.

CME executive chairman, said: "The goal of the proposed merger is to deliver significant efficiencies along with new products and technologies as quickly as possible...Both parties are committed to developing this aggressive migration timeline post close so that our customers will be able to realize the benefits of our combined company sooner."

Craig Donohue, chief executive of CME, said the combined group aims to deliver at least $125m in annual expense synergies after the close of the merger.

CME has also become the first US exchange to list futures on the Chinese equity market after partnering with China index provider FTSE Xinhua Index to list CME E-mini futures on the FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index. The index consists of 25 of the largest Chinese companies listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It will begin trading May 20.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Board Options Exchange is planning to launch credit default options based on credit events, during the second quarter of 2007, pending regulatory approval. The exchange will also begin publishing a new benchmark index on March 16 tracking the performance of a hypothetical volatility arbitrage trading strategy.

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