Leading stock market investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala has hiked his stake in Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), top commodity bourse, from 3.92 per cent earlier to 4.8 per cent between July and September, data from exchanges show. The share price of MCX has seen a near 50 per cent jump from its low levels between July and September when Jhunjhunwala was on a buying spree.

Individual investors are allowed to hold 5 per cent stake in MCX and Jhunjhunwala is near the threshold limit. MCX has been a buzzing counter in the stock markets on the back of talks that it will get merged with India’s largest equity exchange the National Stock Exchange (NSE). Kotak group owns 15 per cent stake in MCX and is also one of the large shareholders of NSE. It would benefit the most from a merger between the two exchanges, experts say.

Exchange filing shows that Jhunjhunwala now holds 2.4 million shares in MCX in concert with Rare Enterprises, the investment company that he promotes. Amit Goela, who is a partner at Rare Enterprises and responsible for its research is also one of the MCX board member.

Both the NSE and BSE were allowed to launch trading in commodity derivatives this year. Market experts believe that NSE was eyeing the MCX merger to boost its position in the segment. A merger would also make listing for NSE possible without an initial public offer, sources said.

Only hurdle for NSE’s merger with MCX could be the former’s large stake in another commodity bourse NCDEX, which will have to be sold. SEBI investigation in NSE co-location matter too has ended, which would ease the merger procedures, experts said. Yet, SEBI may have to give its final report on MCX data sharing issue.