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IntercontinentalExchange Agrees to Acquire NYSE Euronext

IntercontinentalExchange Agrees to Acquire NYSE Euronext

IntercontinentalExchange agreed to acquire NYSE Euronext (NYX) for cash and stock worth $8.2 billion, moving to take control of the world’s biggest equities market.

IntercontinentalExchange confirmed on Thursday plans to buy the NYSE Euronext in a transaction valued at approximately $8.2 billion, bringing to an end to more than two centuries as an independent institution. In a statement, the ICE said it intends to offer $33.12 per share, representing a premium of about 37 percent over NYSE Euronext's Wednesday closing price. The deal will be comprised of about 1/3 cash, and 2/3 stock consideration.

But in an unexpected move, the ICE's deal with the NYSE could result in the European arm of the exchange being spun off in an initial public offering -- effectively undoing the Big Board purchase of it in 2006. 

The ICE said as part of the deal, it was committed to preserving the Board's iconic headquarters on Wall Street, and may explore floating the Euronext business "if market conditions permit." Mergers and acquisitions have dramatically changed the shape of the exchange operating industry. ICE's offer for the iconic Big Board represents one of the largest deals in the stock exchange space since the NYSE itself merged with Euronext in 2006, a culmination of the NYSE's strategy of strategic purchases of smaller competitors.

Last year, the NYSE failed in its $10 billion bid to buy the Deutsche Bourse, one of Europe's largest and most venerable exchanges, when the deal failed to pass regulatory muster. At the time, the Nasdaq-OMX joined forces with the ICE to stage an $11 billion hostile takeover bid for the NYSE-Euronext. The Big Board summarily rejected the offer, labeling it "strategically unattractive."

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