NEW YORK - Barclays agreed on Monday to acquire the Bear Wagner Specialists LLC operations from JPMorgan Chase & Co, a move that will leave the New York Stock Exchange with five designated market makers.
The terms were not disclosed by NYSE Euronext, which announced the transaction. The Wall Street Journal said the purchase price is about $30 million. JPMorgan declined to comment. Barclays did not return a call seeking comment.
The transaction is expected to create the largest designated market maker on the Big Board, representing more than 850 listed issues and about 28 percent of average daily trading volume.
Specialists operate on exchange trading floors and make markets by buying and selling shares. Their importance is declining as trading migrates to electronic platforms.
Bear Stearns Cos had paid $625 million for the specialist firm Wagner Stott Mercator LLC in 2001 and took a $225 million writedown in 2007. JPMorgan took control of the unit when it bought Bear Stearns last May.
Barclays plans to merge Bear Wagner with its own specialist business, which it took on when it bought part of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc in September. A closing is expected in April, pending regulatory approvals.
Other companies with specialist operations include Bank of America Corp, Goldman Sachs Group Inc's Spear, Leeds & Kellogg Specialists LLC, privately-held Kellogg Group LLC, and LaBranche & Co Inc.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Andre Grenon)