NYSE to acquire American Exchange


Published: Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 6:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 6:20 p.m.

NEW YORK - The New York Stock Exchange on Thursday agreed to buy the American Stock Exchange, ending a once intense rivalry that began in colonial times when brokers traded in outdoor markets.

Both exchanges have battled for corporate listings and bragging rights since the early 1900s, with their trading floors just a short walk away from each other in Lower Manhattan. Newspapers around the country all listed the stock swings on the nation's two dominant markets, until investors began paying more attention in the 1990s to technology issues on the upstart Nasdaq Stock Market.

Their evolution took a very different path with the Big Board forming NYSE Euronext to become the world's first trans-Atlantic exchange. The AMEX, unable to compete like it once did, began to focus on trading options and other financial products.

The AMEX, which once hosted the likes of big-name stocks such as The New York Times Co. and The Washington Post Co., now trades generally smaller companies that are often too illiquid to meet the standards of bigger rivals.

NYSE Euronext said it would pay AMEX's seatholders, which are generally members that trade at the exchange, $260 million in stock. In addition, they would receive more stock after the sale of the AMEX's landmark building on 86 Trinity Place a landmarked art deco building it moved into in 1921 and that sits only blocks away from the World Trade Center site.

The deal will give NYSE Euronext a second U.S. license for an option exchange. It would make the NYSE the No. 3 U.S. options marketplace.

The NYSE has been looking to move further into the options business.

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