ICE Provides Power for Nasdaq’s Bid

By CAROLYN CUI And AARON LUCCHETTI

The real upstart of Friday’s takeover bid for the New York Stock Exchange isn’t the 40-year old Nasdaq. It’s IntercontinentalExchange Inc., which got its start in 2000 as a place where utilities could trade electricity.

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. couldn’t have made an $11.3 billion offer for NYSE Euronext without ICE, and the Atlanta company would emerge as the biggest winner by some measures if the deal gets done. One example: ICE would swell in size to the fourth-largest derivatives exchange in the world, up from No. 14 now.

ICE has thrived partly because its core business is in the hot commodities market. Less known outside the world of exchange junkies is that the company is widely considered one of the world’s best-run exchange operators.

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