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Associated Press
Traders at the New York Stock Exchange rush to complete transactions Friday. U.S. regulators have approved the $8 billion sale of the venerable exchange to a futures exchange.

NYSE trades hands in deal

Much younger rival exchange pays $8 billion

– U.S. regulators have approved the proposed $8 billion sale of the venerable New York Stock Exchange to a much younger futures exchange. The deal is a symbol of how financial markets are being increasingly reshaped by high technology.

The Securities and Exchange Commission disclosed Friday that it’s authorized the takeover of the two-centuries-old NYSE’s parent by Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange, or ICE.

The rival acquiring company, founded in 2000, has expanded rapidly through acquisitions over the past decade.

The SEC said in a filing that it’s determined that the merger of the exchanges would comply with securities laws and regulations.

The merger also must be approved by regulators in Europe. The NYSE’s parent is NYSE Euronext, which includes stock exchanges in Europe. The European Commission, the executive body of the 28-nation European Union, gave its approval in June.

The deal is expected to close in the fall. For each share of NYSE Euronext stock they own, shareholders would be able to choose either $33.12 in cash, about a quarter-share of ICE, or a combination of $11.27 in cash and around one-sixth of a share of ICE.

ICE’s offer was valued at $8 billion when it was announced in December. Based on ICE’s current share price, the deal would be worth about $10 billion.

“We welcome the (SEC) decision,” NYSE Euronext spokesman Rich Adamonis said.

ICE spokeswoman Kelly Loeffler said, “We’re pleased to receive approval.”

ICE has said that little would change for the NYSE trading floor at Wall and Broad streets in Manhattan’s financial district. But the NYSE’s clout has been eroded by the advance of technological and regulatory changes. Its importance today is mostly symbolic.

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