BATS sticks with Europe tech plan after IPO debacle

Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:45am EDT
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By Luke Jeffs

LONDON (Reuters) - BATS Global Markets is sticking with a plan to move its Chi-X platform, Europe's largest share trading venue, to its own technology, after a software bug forced the exchange operator to take the embarrassing step of pulling its own listing last week.

The pledge to press ahead with its technology plan comes days after the glitch which caused mayhem in U.S. stock markets and called into question BATS's challenge to incumbent stock exchanges, as well as the stability of high-speed trading.

The bug caused BATS shares to plunge from their $16 offering price and briefly trade for less than a penny on Friday, forcing the exchange to suspend trading of its own and other company shares, including Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote).

The erroneous trades were later voided and late on Friday BATS said it would cancel its initial public offering and return money to investors who had bought its shares.

Still, BATS Europe, wholly owned by BATS Global Markets, said it would switch Chi-X Europe, which is the venue for about one fifth of all share trading in the region, to its technology platform next month, on schedule.

"We plan to move ahead with the Chi-X Europe migration to BATS technology on April 30 as scheduled and yesterday completed the first dress rehearsal with no issues," a spokeswoman for BATS Chi-X Europe said on Sunday.

BATS Europe wants to move Chi-X Europe, which it bought three months ago for about $300 million, to its own, in-house developed platform to make Chi-X faster and cut its cost of technology maintenance.

The spokeswoman stressed Friday's software bug was found in technology related to changes it had made to enable its IPO in the United States, and trading in Europe was not impacted.   Continued...

Joe Ratterman, CEO of BATS Global Markets, speaks at the Reuters Exchanges and Trading Summit in New York March 29, 2010. REUTERS/Natalie Behring