ICE Makes Play for NYSE

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Upstart commodities trading platform IntercontinentalExchange ( ICE) made a $8.2 billion takeover bid for NYSE Euronext ( NYX), putting the iconic Big Board back in play after regulators squashed merger plans last year.

The deal announced Thursday values NYSE Euronext at $33.12 a share, or a 37.7% premium based on Wednesday's closing price. ICE will use a combination of existing shares and cash to close the deal, which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2013. NYSE Euronext shareholders will own about 36% of ICE shares post-transaction, according to a statement from the companies.

"We believe the combined company will be better positioned to compete and serve customers across a broad range of asset classes by uniting our global brands, expertise and infrastructure," said ICE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey C. Sprecher, in a statement.

As part of the deal, ICE said it laid out its plans post merger which includes finding $450 million in "synergies" (i.e. cost cuts), maintaining dual headquarters in Atlanta and New York and exploring an initial public offering of NYSE's Euronext operations as a "Continental European-based entity."

The announcement said that Sprecher will continue as chairman and CEO and that Duncan L. Niederauer -- current NYSE -- will be president.

"This transaction leverages the strength of our iconic brand and the value we have created in our global equity and derivatives franchises - positioning the business for solid long-term growth and development," Niederauer said in a statement.

Completion of the deal is no sure thing. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice blocked a hostile bid from ICE and Nasdaq OMX Group ( NDAQ) for the NYSE on anti-trust concerns.

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