The New York Stock Exchange, whose trading floor helped fuel Warren Buffett’s fortune and financed industries from shipping to semiconductors, is about to be bought by a 12-year-old energy market operator founded with money from a legal settlement.
IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE) agreed to buy NYSE Euronext for cash and stock worth $8.2 billion after its own shares surged fivefold since going public in 2006. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Sprecher will lead the combined company that includes the biggest U.S. equity market company and second-largest European futures exchange, with NYSE’s Duncan Niederauerrelegated to president, according to a statement Thursday.
Bloomberg reports that two hundred twenty years after its founding at the foot of Wall Street and 15 years since it could claim dominance over U.S. markets, NYSE will transfer its ownership to a company based in Atlanta. While Sprecher’s IntercontinentalExchange, known as ICE, agreed to preserve the New York Stock Exchange trading floor in lower Manhattan, he will have a harder time restoring the Big Board’s glory.
'The founders of the NYSE are rolling in their graves', said Phil Panaro, a securities industry consultant who advised NYSE after the ouster of former Chairman Richard Grasso. 'NYSE is the premier brand. They’re supposed to be the Big Board and now they’re basically an afterthought. It was NYSE doing the acquisitions five years ago and now you have them being acquired by an exchange that couldn’t have been mentioned in the same sentence with the New York Stock Exchange'.
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image: © Rupert Ganzer