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NYSE Sinks on Merger Launch

Shares decline, but tomorrow brings another big meeting.

NYSE Euronext


executives will have no time to relax after completing the landmark merger on Wednesday.

The combined exchange's new board of directors will meet for the first time on Thursday, said CEO John Thain.

Now that the deal has been completed, NYSE Euronext says it will be focused on the integration of the world's largest exchange operator.

"Part of our challenge, starting today, we really have to focus on managing and integrating" the new company, Thain said in a media interview on the Big Board's trading floor late Wednesday.

It has already created nine different teams to facilitate the integration of the two exchange operators, which have been working diligently over the last few months. Thain added that relocating Catherine Kinney, NYSE's president and co-chief operating officer, to Paris to oversee the integration as well as international listings is a first step in the process.

He also did not immediately swear off other acquisitions by the exchange this year. While the exchange's top priority will be to focus on managing the newly formed company, "sometimes we have to be reactive," Thain said.

Indeed, Thain has already been thinking further East.

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In late January, NYSE signed an agreement with the Tokyo Stock Exchange to form a "strategic alliance." A few weeks earlier, the Big Board purchased a 5% stake in National Stock Exchange of India.

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and two private equity firms also took 5% stakes in the exchange.

NYSE Euronext executives commemorated the deal's completion by ringing the opening bell on Euronext's Paris exchange earlier this morning. NYSE Euronext chairman Jan-Michiel Hessels, deputy chairman Marshall Carter, deputy CEO Jean-François Théodore and Thain then flew to New York in time to ring the closing bell on the Big Board.

NYSE and Euronext signed a definitive agreement last June to merge the two companies in a $14 billion tie-up that would create the world's largest exchange operator. Executives anticipate cost savings from the merger of $375 million.

Euronext owns several equity and derivatives exchanges in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and London, among others.

NYSE Euronext will oversee more than 4,000 listed companies that have a combined market cap of $28.5 trillion. The average daily trading volume for NYSE Euronext is $120 billion.

Shares of NYSE fell $3.45, or 3.4%, to $97.55 on Wednesday.