NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX), the owner of the 220-year-old New York Stock Exchange, agreed to sell itself to the Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) on Thursday for $8.2 billion, or $33.12 per share, in a deal that would “give control of the longstanding symbol of American capitalism to an upstart competitor,” reported The New York Times.
In recent years, the trend towards consolidation of the world of market operators has been met with antitrust concerns and nationalist sentiment. ICE and the Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ) made an $11 billion hostile bid for the stock exchange’s parent company last April, but the deal was blocked by the Justice Department. NYSE Euronext, which owns the biggest exchanges in the United States, France, and the Netherlands, has attempted to make consolidations of its own as well. However, the company’s merger with Deutsche Börse was halted by European antitrust regulators.
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The deal between NYSE Euronext and ICE illustrates the diminishing influence of the New York Stock Exchange and the increasing importance of derivatives, according to Bloomberg. “The Big Board, once the benchmark for global free markets, has seen its share of trading in stocks listed on the exchange decline to 21 percent from 82 percent,” stated the publication. In fact, NYSE Euronext’s derivative business, which includes the Liffe market in London, spurred ICE’s interest in the company.