ICE cleared to close NYSE deal

Regulators have approved the sale of the historic New York Stock Exchange, the last step in a monumental deal for an adolescent Atlanta company.

IntercontinentalExchange received final approval Friday to acquire NYSE Euronext, which owns the stock exchange, for $10.9 billion. The deal is expected to close Wednesday.

ICE had originally predicted a Nov. 4 closing date, but delayed it last week after regulators in some European countries were slow to sign off on the deal. It had already been approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the European Commission.

ICE, founded in 2000, had made a previous, hostile bid for the exchange.

In addition to the stock exchange — which this week successfully launched the much-anticipated public offering of Twitter — ICE will acquire a European exchange called Liffe, where interest rate futures are traded. Liffe is the largest financial products exchange in London.

The potential for increased trading of interest rate futures as interest rates rise is a huge opportunity for ICE, founder and CEO Jeff Sprecher said in an interview.

“We’re excited about it,” he said. “We had wanted to get into that business, providing hedging tools for interest rate products.”

NYSE Euronext will stop trading at the end of the day Tuesday, and begin trading Wednesday as part of ICE. The combined company will operate global exchanges and service transactions involving agricultural and energy commodities, credit derivatives, equities and equity derivatives, foreign exchange, and interest rates.

Shareholders in NYSE Euronext were offered either cash or stock for their shares, but “substantially oversubscribed” the stock option, ICE said in a statement. The shares available were pro-rated, and shareholders will receive a mix of cash and stock.