ICE Makes $8.2B Bid for New York Stock Exchange Operator

NYSE Nov 2012 2
New York Stock Exchange, New York City. Reuters

In the latest of a wave of mergers that has made the exchange industry an increasingly smaller playing field since 2006, exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) said Thursday it was looking to buy the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange in a deal valued at $8.2 billion.

The cash-and-stock offer for NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) still needs to be approved by regulators, who nixed the last merger NYSE attempted earlier this year. The offer will value NYSE Euronext at $33.12 a share, a 37.7% premium over the exchange operator's closing price on Wednesday. Shareholders have the option to receive either that amount in cash, or in a mix of cash and stock. ICE believes the deal will end up with only one-third of the transaction valued in cash.

A marriage between NYSE, the premier U.S. stock exchange, and another operator, has been a long time coming. Besides the deal with Germany's Deutsche Boerse that collapsed earlier this year, ICE had made an $11 billion joint offer with rival Nasdaq OMX Group (Nasdaq:NDAQ) in 2011.

ICE said it expects its new deal to close in the second half of 2013, but the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice need to sign off on the closing.

"Our transaction is responsive to the evolution of market infrastructure today and offers a range of growth opportunities, while enhancing competition in U.S. and European markets and broadening our ability to address new markets and offer innovative products and services on a global platform," ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher, who would lead the combined company, said in a statement.

NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer, who would take a lessened position in the new firm, said, "This transaction leverages the strength of our iconic brand and the value we have created in our global equity and derivatives franchises -- positioning the business for solid long-term growth and development."

Shares of NYSE Euronext surged on the deal, even hitting prices past the tender offer level, before recently trading at $32.05, up $8 or 33.26 percent for the day. Shares of IntercontinentalExchange Inc were down slightly on the news, losing 81 cents per share, or .63 percent, to recently trade at $127.50.

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