Tullett and GFI resume merger talks

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Tullett Prebon last night admitted it was in merger talks with rival GFI Group to create one of the two largest interdealer brokers in the world.

Shares in the Nasdaq-listed GFI had soared more than 15 per cent after reports it had resurrected negotiations with its rival.

GFT declined to comment as it prepared to release its third-quarter results last night.

UK-listed Tullett said it "confirms that it is in discussions regarding a possible combination with GFI Group". It rejected talk that the deal would be signed within days, saying that the discussions "were at an early stage".

GFI's shares peaked 15.8 per cent higher at $10.80 just after lunch, as investors waited for comment from the group. Unlike the UK, companies listed in the US are not required to release an official statement in the event of an unusual share price spike.

GFI is expected to face a barrage of questions from analysts on the nature of a potential deal today, on a call nominally set up to discuss its results, which were released after the Nasdaq stock market closed last night.

This is the third time the two companies have held talks over merging. They first started negotiations in 2006, which were shelved before resuming the following year. The talks eventually crumbled last July, according to a spokesman for Tullett.

A move to merge Tullett, run by Terry Smith, and GFI group would create the largest interdealer broker by headcount, although would not be the largest by revenues.