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Oil exchange fights for survival

London's prestigious International Petroleum Exchange ...

London's prestigious International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) is fighting for its life.
The exchange, which along with rivals in New York and Singapore is where much of the world's crude oil is traded, is thought vulnerable to take-over.

The exchange's greatest success is its trade in North Sea Brent crude oil, which has become the benchmark for oil prices around the globe.

On Monday the IPE suspended the trading of its shares in order to discuss a merger - possibly a takeover - with its shareholders.

And on Wednesday its closest US rival Nymex announced it is to start trading in Brent crude oil futures in a direct threat to the IPE's main lifeline.

The IPE's somewhat limited advance into electronic trading is seen as one of the main reasons why it has changed from becoming the market leader to a takeover target.