If the Securities and Exchange Commission signs off on the merger, shares of the NYSE will begin trading in late January under the ticker symbol NYX. Shares of Archipelago will cease to trade.

The new company will be called NYSE Group.

In Europe, publicly traded stock exchanges have been around for years. But the move toward letting the public buy shares in U.S. stock markets was slow to catch on.

The push to take stock exchanges public picked up following the highly successful IPO by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ( CME) in 2004. The CME has been one of the top-performing stocks. Another successful initial public offering for an exchange occurred this fall with the debut of the CBOT ( BOT), the holding company for the Chicago Board of Trade.

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