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NYSE’s new parent is from Atlanta

Jim Burress Dec 20, 2012
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You might think the company that is buying the parent of the New York Stock Exchange would be in a giant building in downtown Atlanta.

But IntercontinentalExchange is in a nondescript office plaza. And when I visited today, a security guard promptly told me to leave. A tourist attraction, it’s not.

And that’s not a bad thing, because ICE won’t be getting many visitors. Despite the buyout, the famous NYSE trading floor isn’t coming to Atlanta.

“There will still be a New York Stock Exchange. It will be headquartered right where it is,” says Jeff Rosensweig, who teaches finance at Emory University. 

In today’s world of online, instant trades, physical location hardly matters, he says. And since ICE specializes in those types for trades — things like energy and commodities — Rosensweig says it’s likely both Atlanta and New York will house the company’s headquarters. 

This isn’t the first time ICE has eyed the famed NYSE. Last year, the exchange paired with NASDAQ in a failed bid to buy the NYSE. Regulators shot it down over antitrust concerns. This time, without NASDAQ in the picture, it should be smoother sailing.

But Thursday’s news is bittersweet for some, including Seaport Securities Corporation president Ted Weisberg. It’s bitter, he says, because “at one point there were 5,000 people that worked on the trading floor.  Now, my guess is it’s 600-700 [people], and that might be an exaggeration.”

And why does Weisberg say the deal is somewhat sweet? Because it’s expected to pay a 33 percent premium on the price of shares of the NYSE’s parent company.

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