04.19.2016
By John D'Antona

Bats IPO Boosts Exchange Competition

Bats Global Markets is now a publicly traded entity, putting it on equal footing with U.S. exchange rivals Nasdaq and the IntercontinentalExchange-owned New York Stock Exchange.

“More competition is a good thing,” said James Angel, associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “I’m pro-competition and this should help the average investor — which the SEC cares about the most — and help price discovery.”

After a tech snafu scuttled a 2012 IPO attempt, Bats’ seamless IPO on the second attempt should bolster confidence in Bats as an alternative to NYSE and Nasdaq for companies who want to go public, Angel said.

To recap, Bats Global Markets’ investors sold 13.3 million shares of stock at $19 per share yesterday, on the high end of the $17 to $19 range talked. It originally planned to sell 11.2 million shares and Bats will not receive any proceeds from the sale of any shares by the selling stockholders. After a pop of about 20% today, the shares rose another 50 cents to $23.75 in early afternoon trading on Tuesday.

Bats is the second-largest stock-exchange operator in the U.S., after the NYSE. It holds a 21.1% share of the US equities market, ahead of Nasdaq’s 18.8%, according to an investor presentation.

David Weisberger, head of trading at Markit, said that after its successful IPO, shares of Bats can now be traded by non-qualified investors in a transparent manner and that they will be subject to the enhanced regulatory burden of being a public company – such as Sarbanes Oxley.

“Investors could benefit if (the shares) perform well, but the real beneficiaries are the employees, who will now be able to monetize their holdings,” Weisberger said in an interview.

Featured image by James Steidl/Dollar Photo Club

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