Purchase of NYSE set to close

IntercontinentalExchange is expected to close its $10.9 billion purchase of the historic New York Stock Exchange today.

The acquisition, announced last December, was ICE’s second attempt to buy NYSE Euronext. ICE, founded in 2000, previously failed in a hostile takeover. Its success in buying the owner of the exchange is a coup for the Atlanta company and will vault Atlanta into the highest rank of financial headquarters.

ICE was already well-respected in its business, but its name is not well-known outside of financial circles. ICE founder and CEO Jeff Sprecher has said that in addition to its impact on the business, the acquisition will help people understand what ICE does.

Operating exchanges, ICE acts as a financial eBay, matching potential buyers and sellers of various financial products. It also has a PayPal-like component, to ensure that people get paid after those matches are made.

In addition to the stock exchange, ICE will acquire a European exchange called Liffe, where interest rate futures are traded. Liffe is the largest financial products exchange in London.

The combined NYSE Euronext and ICE will operate global exchanges and service transactions involving agricultural and energy commodities, credit derivatives, equities and equity derivatives, foreign exchange, and interest rates. NYSE Euronext will cease to exist today.

The deal was originally expected to close Nov. 4, but it was delayed due to slow regulator approval.

Shareholders in NYSE Euronext were offered either cash or stock for their shares, but “substantially oversubscribed” the stock option, ICE said in a statement.