The owner of the “icon of American capitalism” is being sold to an Atlanta-based derivatives company for $8.2 billion as Wall Street’s trademark practice of high-energy verbal trading gives way to the digital kind.

The exchange’s parent company, NYSE Euronext, accepted an offer from IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) for $33.12 a share in cash and stock.

The NYSE once ruled the American stock market, but has become relatively smaller since the 1990s, when the “all-electronic Nasdaq” opened and introduced new rules that permitted shares to be traded more easily across multiple venues. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is the strongest exchange in the U.S., valued at $17.5 billion, $10 billion more than NYSE Euronext.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Guardian:

The takeover comes amid a historic shift for Wall Street and stock exchanges around the world. The move to electronic trading, fierce competition between exchanges and the sharp decline in trading commissions has led to a wave of mergers and takeover offers that have failed amid regulatory concerns.

The exchange, also called the Big Board, has moved to embrace technology in recent years but still also uses the “open outcry” system with traders in bright-coloured jackets shouting and waving their hands to make orders.

Charles Geisst, author of Wall Street: A History and a finance professor at Manhattan College, said: “The NYSE has faded in the past few years, for most professionals this is a sign of the times. Trading could take place on the moon right now as long as you have the right communications.”

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