NYSE, an American institution, sells for $8.2 billion

The iconic exchange will now have Atlanta owners. Most investors will probably not notice a difference, however.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 20, 2012 12:16PM
Image: Stock market (Zurbar/age fotostock)The New York Stock Exchange, which to most investors has been synonymous with the stock market for more than two centuries, will never be the same again.

According to multiple media reports, the big board's corporate parent NYSE Euronext (NYX) has agreed to be acquired by IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) for about $8.2 billion.

The move would give the energy and commodities futures operation control over the world's largest equities market. ICE, based in Atlanta, agreed to pay $33.12 a share for NYSE Euronext, a 38% premium over Wednesday's closing price. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2013 pending regulatory approvals.

"We believe the combined company will be better positioned to compete and serve customers across a broad range of asset classes by uniting our global brands, expertise and infrastructure," said ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher in a press release.

To veteran stock market watchers, the deal is not a surprise. The Big Board has seen its share of trading in stocks listed on the exchange plummet from 82% to 21%, according to Bloomberg News, which noted that its profit margins are also being squeezed.

NYX hasn't been the best stock pick, either. The stock was down 8.7% for the year as of Wednesday's close. It was down as much as 79.6% from its 2006 peak with its $22.22 close on Nov. 14. But after the ICE deal was announced, shares of NYX have soared 31% Thursday to $31.57.

A joint hostile deal for NYSE Euronext last year from ICE and NASDAX OMX Group (NDAQ), operator of the NASDAQ, was blocked by the U.S. Justice Department because of worries that a combined company would have too much dominance over stock listings. This new deal appears far less problematic, experts say.

ICE will retain the NYSE Euronext brand and will maintain dual headquarters in Atlanta and New York. The company's New York headquarters will be located in the Wall Street building, home to the iconic trading floor. It will open a new midtown Manhattan office in June 2013.  NYSE Euronext also operates exchanges in the Netherlands and France.

Once the deal is closed, most investors probably wont notice a difference.

MSN Money's Charley Blaine contributed to this report.

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks.  Follow him on Twitter@jdberr

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