CME Group Inc on Monday sold two of its historic Chicago Board of Trade buildings, but it signed a 15-year lease, signaling the change of ownership would not disrupt the raucous buying and selling on its grains trading floor.
The sale, which fetched about $151.5 million, includes the landmark Art Deco building that anchors Chicago's LaSalle Street financial artery, as well as a second building that sits just to the south and whose fourth floor is the vast agricultural trading floor.
Atop the north building stands a statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of grains.
CME will continue to own the adjacent, smaller building that houses its financial trading floor, where bond, stock-index and interest-rate contracts change hands.
The buildings, which CME acquired when it bought the Chicago Board of Trade in 2007, have been on the market since last June, when CME was fighting a state tax increase it said would force it to move if not rescinded.
Late last year CME won the tax concessions it was seeking in Springfield, the capital, winning a legal change that will roughly halve its tax bill starting in 2014. CME promptly promised to stay in Chicago for years to come.
A joint venture between GlenStar Properties LLC and USAA Real Estate Co bought the two buildings in a transaction that closed Monday. The sale price was on the low end of a range of $150 million to $180 million range reported in February.
CME will lease the space it currently occupies in the two buildings for a 15-year term.
CME is due to report its first-quarter earnings on Thursday. Analysts expect profit to fall as trading volume declined.
MF Global, the brokerage that collapsed last October and from which $1.6 billion in customer money is still missing, was a major tenant in one of the buildings.