BATS leaders disagree on new IPO for exchange

Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:13pm EDT
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By Jonathan Spicer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Disagreement emerged on Sunday over the re-listing of an electronic stock exchange that suffered a high-profile crash last week, a breakdown that forced it to unwind its initial public offering of shares.

Dave Cummings, the outspoken founder and a board member of BATS Global Markets Inc, called in an open letter for the company to "develop a credible IPO plan" and "go public in the second quarter, if possible.

"This might seem tough, but I believe it is the only way to move past the issue," Cummings wrote.

But the firm's chief executive, Joe Ratterman, said in an interview that there were no plans to try for another IPO in the foreseeable future, declining to elaborate but noting that the company was still in a quiet period because of its recent share listing.

A long letter from Ratterman was released on Sunday, trying to explain and apologize for the software failure, but it avoided the IPO question.

"We had a technical blip," Ratterman told Reuters. "It's completely regrettable and very painful. And it's our job to go back and bring back that confidence to get over this - it's absolutely recoverable."

Divergent views on when the IPO could be relaunched were part of the swirl of events that followed the highly unusual trading crash and withdrawal of the IPO Friday.

BATS, based in Lenexa, Kansas, operates a computer-driven exchange that trades stocks listed on other major exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. Since its launch in 2005, it has grown to capture about 11 percent of U.S. stock trading volume and a smaller amount of options trading.   Continued...

Dave Cummings, Chief Executive Officer of BATS Trading, speaks at the Reuters Exchanges and Trading Summit in New York May 9, 2007. REUTERS/Eric Thayer