NYSE Approves $9B Archipelago Buy, Becomes For-Profit

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Seat owners of the New York Stock Exchange voted Tuesday to acquire Archipelago Holdings Inc. in a $9 billion deal that will turn the 213-year-old Big Board into a for-profit enterprise with high-tech computerized trading capabilities.

As expected, more than 95 percent of the seat owners who voted approved the deal, according to the exchange, with more than 90 percent of members voting. There are 1,366 seats on the exchange.

"This is a truly historic day for the New York Stock Exchange and an event of great importance for our future and that of our customers and Americas capital markets," NYSE Chief Executive John Thain said in a statement. "This transaction gives the NYSE a strong platform for future growth, value creation, and competitive positioning on a global basis."

Archipelago shareholders, meeting in Chicago, approved the deal Tuesday morning, the company said in a statement. A spokeswoman for Archipelago said the company did not plan to release a vote tally.

Under the agreement, NYSE seat owners will receive more than $5 million for each seat, though only $300,000 of that will be in cash. The rest will be stock in the new company, which seat owners will be restricted in selling for up to three years. Archipelago shareholders will have their shares transfered to the new company, to be called The NYSE Group Inc., on a one-for-one basis.