Author Mary Higgins Clark to Trade Futures!

World famous author Mary Higgins Clark bought a seat on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. What is the woman known to write about serial killers doing with a seat on the country's largest options and futures market?

World famous author Mary Higgins Clark, who has sold more than 80 million books in the U.S. alone, has purchased a seat on the Chicago Board Options Exchange for $2.95 million. The move has been met with some surprise by many in the financial world.

The news is from a report on Reuters which cites “unidentified sources”. The deal apparently went through on March 11, the same day the Chicago options market said it would transform into a for-profit company and sell stock to the public this year.
Clark was paid $64 million in 2000 to write four novels for publisher Simon & Schuster. Each of her forty-two books have been a bestseller in the United States and various European countries, and all of her novels remain in print as of 2007, with her debut suspense novel, "Where Are The Children", in its seventy-fifth printing. She is a minority owner of the New Jersey Nets. Famous titles include “The Shadow of Your Smile” and “Just Take My Heart.”
It’s speculated that Higgins Clark, who is married to John Conheeney (former head of Merrill Lynch futures), is expecting investors to clamor for the shares in the IPO of the country’s largest market for equity options. All seats will convert to shares when CBOE sheds its member ownership. According to a Bloomberg report, the New York Mercantile Exchange’s stock rose 125 percent on its first trading day in 2006.

Seat prices help determine the value of the exchange, as the price of shares determine the value of a public company. Clark’s purchase valued the shares the exchange will issue at $49.17 each. The 930 current seats, or memberships, will each be given 60,000 shares of Class A stock. CBOE seat price reached a record high of $3.3 million in June 2008. CBOE Holdings Inc., the CBOE’s parent company, plans to convert its ownership to about 68 million shares in an IPO later this year.
According to filings with the SEC, the CBOE will pay a special dividend of $1.67 for each share outstanding after the restructuring, for a total of $113.6 million. The offering price of the number of shares to be listed has not yet been determined.

Her husband, John Conheeney was on the board of the Chicago Board of Trade for 11 years. It’s unclear how much influence he had on Higgins’ investment.

According to the Bloomberg report, “Net income at CBOE has surged in the past four years, increasing nine fold to $106.5 million last year from 2005, according to its IPO filing. Operating revenue has more than doubled to $426.1 million in the same period. The exchange makes most of its money from fees charged for trading on its platform, and sales usually rise as volume increases”. The company controls 30.7% of the options market.

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